Nigerian hotel booking website, Hotels.ng, has raised $1.2 million from the Omidyar Network, the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage technology fund.
Hotels.ng was founded in 2013 by Nigerian entrepreneur Mark Essien, with an aim to provide affordable, safe and convenient online bookings for Nigerian hotels for both tourist and business travelers.
At the moment, it has a listing of more than 7,000 hotels in 21 regions across Nigeria and has facilitated up to two million hotel reservations since its inception.
It is the second time Hotels.ng is raising money. In 2013, Lagos-based business accelerator Spark, made a seed investment of $225,000 in the company. The company is already profitable, though Mark Essien refuses to disclose revenue figures.
Essien said his company plans to use the new funds to invest further in its technology capacity and in pursuing expansion into Ghana and French West Africa.
“We’re forging ahead into relatively uncharted territory; E-commerce in Africa is a massive market to conquer, but there are no hard and fast prototypes from which to follow,” Essien said.
He said they cannot simply replicate Western models here; they have to build their own blueprints from scratch, which takes significant investment, both in terms of time and money.
“This additional capital will allow us to realize the next stage in our ambitious growth plans, which will see us consolidate our position as Nigeria’s market leader in online hotel bookings, with a view to expanding our service into other African markets, such as Ghana,” he added.