MTN and Amadeus (the tech investment company, not the 18th Century composer, genuis and naughty bugger) walk into a bar. There they meet Travelstart, the online travel booking company, and proceed to give the company’s African arm about $40 million, because large-scale tech investment is no joke.
There really is no punchline there. Amadeus and MTN have announced a $40 million investment in Travelstart which will “…enable Travelstart to enter new markets and extend its market dominance throughout Africa.” Travelstart has been around since its founding in Sweden in 1999, but its African operations have been running since 2006.
In addition to using large sums of money to enter new markets, Travelstart will be partnering up with MTN, using its African mobile network for… travel bookings and car hire, we guess? The investment should be a good one, as Travelstart CEO Stephan Ekbergh has says, “Air travel in Africa is expected to grow significantly faster than in most regions globally, with a host of low cost carriers targeting the region.” Which can only be good news for the travel booking service.
Amadeus’ Andrea Traverson says, “Our investment in Travelstart is among the largest venture investments in South Africa in the last five years. Africa has one of the fastest growing middle classes in the world that are fast adopting e-commerce and mobile internet access. These macro trends support Travelstart’s growth and bode well for their strategic relationship with MTN.”
MTN’s group head of digital, Herman Singh, says of the investment deal, “It strongly complements our existing investments in online and e-commerce in retail, marketplaces, classifieds and travel. This investment in the largest multi-national player in a very large and rapidly growing market positions MTN as an enabler of exciting new leading edge businesses”.