Purple Elephant Ventures (PEV), a tourism-focused adventure studio in Kenya, has raised $1 million in seed funding to build the next generation of startups using technology to modernize the travel industry.
Klister Credit Corp, a Canadian investment firm, The Untours Foundation, and several angel investors are participating in the round. These investors include Fede Pirzio-Biroli, founder of Playfair Capital; Ian McCaig, former CEO of lastminute.com and M-Kopa board member; Anthony Rock, president of Rock Impact Capital, Rich Hoops, managing director at Impact Capital, Jim Villanueva, CEO of Global Partnership Social Ventures, and Helena, Optimization Fund co-founder and president Helena Riese Harstad.
Every year, Venture Studio intends to find approximately four startups focusing on travel, the environment, and technological advancement.
“I think what excites the team is how digitizing travel can help make the future greener. And one of the best things about working in a studio is that we can always try out new creative ideas. We have what we call “ideal sessions,” which are very organized conversations about how to build businesses in the tourism industry that will help reduce our carbon footprint.
The African tourism sector,” the CEO said. Ben Peterson, Mikul Shah, and Jan Van der Do de Willebois started a company together in early 2020, right before Covid came out.
Even though the Covid pandemic caused a lot of uncertainty in the travel industry, the PEV team didn’t slow down. Instead, they started two new companies: Elephant Bookings, a software as a service (SaaS) product, and Nomad. Africa, a content-trade magazine.
Elephant Bookings is a business-to-business service for online hotel service providers that helps them get more guests by letting them book directly. Shah started Africa in the beginning. He also created the website EatOut Africa, which helps people find restaurants. Venture Studio is looking for a co-founder and a CEO for two new businesses they are starting.
But why concentrate on travel?
There are thousands of startups in agriculture, FinTech, energy, and health, which are all crucial parts of the African economy. However, there aren’t many startups in tourism, and even fewer are trying to raise money. Get capital.” This is true even though tourism is one of the continent’s biggest industries,” said Peterson, a former senior partner at AHL Venture Partners, an early-stage VC firm in Africa.
It made me feel strange, so I set out to figure out why, and at the end of the day, I concluded that it was a massive enterprise with genuine revenues, but it was perfect.
The majority of travel firms have no web presence at all. The way it works is stuck in the 1970s.
You can’t even book a room on the websites of the most expensive Safari lodges.” To book, you have to email or call an agent and go through a lot of steps,” he said, adding that Elephant Bookings is the first company that PEV sees filling this gap.
Peterson said that PEV’s further research showed that the industry in Africa is ready for change, especially since Africa is one of the fastest-growing places in the world.
“I realized there was a problem with modernizing this industry, so we started to look into it a little more. And I quickly concluded that modernizing the tourism industry is more than just a business opportunity. There are a lot of different ways to do that.
As a result of the industry’s robust resurgence, over the next decade, it is anticipated that Africa’s tourist industry will expand at a pace of 6.8%, which is double the rate of the continent’s overall economy, reaching a total of $279 billion. Following the effects of the covid outbreak, According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), 14 million additional employment will be produced within that period.