BuuPass Mobility Digital Infrastructure Company Gets Funding From Adaverse To Integrate Web3 and Expand Markets
PRESS RELEASE — June 05, 2023
Adaverse, the official Cardano accelerator in Africa and Asia, has recently invested in BuuPass, an innovative online ticketing and booking platform driving technological advancements in the African transport system. Adaverse joins other prominent investors in this seed round to aid BuuPass’ strategic focus on expansion while enhancing the platform through the integration of a Web3 interface, providing a seamless and secure transaction experience for users across borders.
The transportation sector plays a critical role in African urbanization and can accelerate economic growth, yet it has been largely overlooked. This sector is characterised by hyper-fragmentation, and a lack of digitalization, resulting in inefficiencies, cash leakages, poor data management, and unsatisfactory customer experiences. Surprisingly, around 80% of travelers in Africa are unable to book their tickets online, missing out on convenient options and potential savings. BuuPass aims to tackle these issues head-on and capture the $40 billion long-distance transport market in Africa through its comprehensive digital solution, benefiting both travelers and transport companies.
“Amidst the increasing demand for investment in Africa’s transportation system and the continent’s journey towards unlocking its abundant resources, BuuPass emerges as a vital connector between the evolving digital world and the expanding physical infrastructure. With its unique business model, BuuPass has the potential to propel Africa forward and facilitate flourishing cross-border trade. We have full confidence that their Web3 integration with Cardanio blockchain will further simplify and enhance these opportunities, paving the way for unprecedented growth.” — Vincent Li, Founding partner at Adaverse
In an exclusive interview, Sonia Kabra, the visionary founder of BuuPass, provided insights into her background, the platform’s ambitious plans for expanding into new markets, and Web3 integration through the Cardano blockchain.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about what BuuPass is solving?
Sonia: BuuPass uses technology to bridge the convenience gap notable in the African transport system. Through our seamless online booking marketplace and our innovative Bus Management System, we streamline travel logistics by offering a user-friendly interface on the web, mobile apps, and through USSD shortcodes. With BuuPass, people can conveniently access everyday transport services, including public transportation, from the comfort of their homes. By booking tickets on their phones, they can skip queues and uncertainties. We prioritize accessibility, serving users with or without internet access through our agency network and USSD version. Additionally, we integrate with popular third-party super apps like M-Pesa, which boasts over 50 million active monthly users across the continent, ensuring widespread convenience for our customers.
Q: Why BuuPass, and what inspired you to launch this platform in Kenya?
Sonia: Growing up in central India, I personally witnessed the challenges people faced in accessing education, healthcare, and opportunities due to the limitations of transportation. Inspired by the transformative impact of online travel booking platforms like Redbus and IRCTC, my Kenyan co-founder Wycliffe Omondi and I joined forces to build a platform tailored to Africa’s needs. Recognizing the shared transport issues between India and sub-Saharan Africa, we envisioned a world without borders.
Kenya, being the largest economy in East and Central Africa, provides a strategic launchpad for our platform. Since our launch in 2016, we have introduced our B2B2C solution in Kenya, targeting its dynamic population. The outcomes speak for themselves, as we have successfully sold over 9 million tickets and achieved an impressive Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) of $30 million in 2022. Our partnerships, including an exclusive collaboration with the Kenyan Railways and strategic alliances with telcos such as MPesa, Kenya’s leading payment platform, have played a significant role in our growth and success.
Q: Do you have immediate plans to grow beyond ticketing?
Sonia: Certainly. BuuPass has already expanded its services beyond bus ticketing, allowing users to conveniently book flights, trains, and connecting flights all in one place. Additionally, we offer comprehensive solutions to our transport partners, including data management, point-of-sale systems, mid-mile parcel management, and advanced reporting systems to facilitate better business insights, reporting, and billing processes. We also provide training and support to enhance service quality and technology utilization for our partners. BuuPass has also newly launched in Uganda and is gaining significant traction there.
Q: How will BuuPass benefit from the blockchain infrastructure?
Sonia: BuuPass is actively exploring blockchain technology to enhance operations and improve the customer experience. Potential applications include tokenizing loyalty programs, enabling seamless bookings through smart contracts, and enhancing identity validation and inventory management. With the support of Adaverse and EMURGO Africa, we are evaluating and exploring these possibilities to digitise long-distance transport services in Africa, ensuring a reliable and seamless mobility system. This collaboration brings valuable expertise and resources, to achieving a seamless integration with the Cardano blockchain.
Q: What are the upcoming initiatives and goals for BuuPass?
Sonia: We are focused on expanding our footprint and creating a sustainable transport ecosystem that benefits both travelers and the community. With our recent launch in Uganda and our growth in Kenya, we are eager to explore opportunities in other African markets. Our goal is to create a comprehensive network of interconnected transport options that offer convenience to travelers.
Additionally, we are committed to sustainable development and community upliftment. By selling over 9 million tickets, we have saved customers time and money while reducing CO2 emissions. We empower local agents, provide additional revenue streams, and help transport operators save money via cash leakages. We will continue to prioritize these efforts to drive positive impact and improve the travel experience in Africa.
Q: What is one aspect that continues to inspire you as a Techpreneur?
Sonia: My experiences continually fuel my passion for making a meaningful impact and driving change. Personally, I actively engage with various organizations that champion women in business and technology in Kenya. As a company, we are dedicated to implementing gender-smart policies, fostering equity in our operations, and making a positive contribution to society. Our belief in empowering individuals and communities aligns with our vision for a sustainable and equitable future.
Shogo Ishida, Co-CEO EMURGO Middle East and Africa commented, “BuuPass is driving positive change in Africa’s commerce through the ease of transport and they have built a solution that is scalable across the continent. The co-founders are highly inspiring in their exceptional efforts and EMURGO is proud to back their growth journey as they continue to build a better future for Africa.”
Adaverse is a Cardano-focused accelerator set up jointly by EMURGO Africa, a subsidiary of EMURGO, the official commercial arm of the Cardano protocol, and Everest Ventures Group, a leading blockchain and digital asset venture studio, looking to identify and scale promising Web3 projects in Africa. Since its inception in 2021, Adaverse has invested in over thirty (30) startups in Africa and Asia, building infrastructure projects such as Web3.0 and Layer2.