Bookaway Group has raised $35 million in a Series C round led by Red Dot Capital Partners with investment from Menorah and Tenere Capital. Existing investors Aleph, Corner Ventures and Entrée Capital also participated in the round. Red Dot’s Managing Partner Barak Salomon will join Bookaway Group’s board.
Ground transport made easy
The Bookaway Group was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic (2021), based on a shared belief that the ground transport industry will better meet the needs of travellers when it is united, not fragmented. In a conversation with Geektime, Noam Toister, Bookaway Group’s CEO, explained their strategy, and how they plan to remain at the top of this $157 billion industry.
The Bookaway Group’s mission is to help consumers easily book buses, trains, and ferries. Its goal is to offer complete ground transport inventory globally by digitalizing the ground transportation industry, so travellers can easily plan, compare, book, and pay for bus, ferry, and rail journeys. As ground transportation remains a fragmented and offline market (with 90% of transactions still occurring via shops and kiosks), their solution will make travel a simple and stress-free experience.
Toister went on to explain that the group is comprised of consumer-facing digital brands that allow travellers to book buses, private transfers, ferries, and trains in advance and online. These brands (Bookaway.com, 12Go, GetByBus and Plataforma 10) joined the group through various acquisitions (4 in the past twelve months); the acquisitions of 12Go (the largest ground transport OTA in the Asia Pacific) and GetByBus (the largest ground transport OTA in the Balkans, which also serves Europe) ensured the group a number one presence in the Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe respectively, while the acquisition of Plataforma 10 (the largest ground transport OTA in Argentina ) will help scale the brand across Latin America. With all these acquisitions, Bookaway.com has managed to grow by x15 compared to 2019, despite covid-19 travel restrictions. By bringing leading ground transport OTAs together the Bookaway Group has created the largest single source of ground transport in the world, covering more than 7,000 operators.
What is the involvement of the Bookaway Group with its operators? “The group invests in proprietary technology for bus and coach operators; we help our operator partners to grow sales with a modern e-Commerce experience underpinned by rich visual content, user-generated reviews, and a seamless payment experience. For the many operators that are yet to embrace technology, we also provide a market-leading Transport Management System to power their operations and bring them online,” Toister explained. He went on by saying that the latest round of funding will not only help in financing further acquisitions– in line with their strategy to become the only player able to offer complete ground transport inventory globally– but will also provide new financial models and operational tools that support operators in recovering from the pandemic more quickly, whilst improving day-to-day fleet management and profitability. He concluded by saying “We’re confident the technology we’re developing, and operator partnerships we’re building, mean we can grow our B2B business by becoming the go-to API for all travel brands that want to add ground transport alongside flights and hotels.”