In Kenya, the bulk of operators, particularly those in the road transportation industry, still insists that customers physically book tickets at their offices even when making advance travel arrangements. Booking platforms are starting to appear in the market with the aim of bridging the gap. One such platform is BuuPass, which is actively working to promote order in the extremely fragmented industry by assisting operators to digitize their operations.
Seven years after its establishment, the company, which is backed by $1.3 million in pre-seed funding from the Founders Factory Africa, FrontEnd Ventures, Adaverse, Gullit, Five35, Renew Capital, Changecom, XA Network, and Ajim, intends to scale in Kenya and Uganda before expanding into other markets.
Operators can manage their operations, inventories, and sales with a bus management system (BMS) from BuuPass, a B2B2C full-stack marketplace. “Our partnership with Safaricom helped us win the Kenya Railways (the company that runs the national train system) contract and confirmed our ability to develop high-value transaction solutions.
When Kabra and Omondi first connected in 2013 at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, the United States, they co-founded BuuPass, the school’s first entrepreneurship club, as a result of their shared interest in entrepreneurship and desire to offer solutions for the transport sector in emerging markets.
They received the $1 million Hult Prize in 2016, a grant supported by Bill Clinton, which enabled them to introduce BuuPass (then known as Magic Bus Ticketing) as a B2C platform in Kenya. Yet, they soon understood that the idea was not feasible as the operations of most bus companies were overwhelmingly manual, hence the need to prioritize digitization.