African online travel agent secures $40M investment

Stephan-F-Ekbergh_P3Travelstart was founded in Sweden in 1999 by its CEO Stephan Ekbergh. Operating in Africa from its Cape Town headquarters since 2006, Mr Ekbergh has built Travelstart into the market leader in South Africa, with over 75% market share.

Amadeus, the global technology investor has invested $40m investment in Travelstart in partnership with MTN, Africa’s leading mobile and digital life services operator.

Travelstart is the leading online travel agency in Africa, and has built a market leadership position in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya and parts of the Middle East. The growth investment by Amadeus and MTN will enable Travelstart to enter new markets and extend its market dominance throughout Africa, as the online travel agency responds to strong demand from a rapidly expanding middle class with internet access.

Stephan Ekbergh, Founder and CEO, Travelstart explained “Amadeus Capital’s investment comes at an inflexion point for Travelstart, as we capitalise on a boom in online travel bookings across Africa and Middle East. 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. Alongside the strategic partnership with Africa’s best connected mobile operator MTN, Amadeus’ investment and guidance will prove invaluable in continuing to build our market leading position.”

The company has entered other emerging markets across the Middle East and Africa, achieving revenues north of $200m in 2015, and market leadership positions in Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya. The investment by Amadeus and MTN will support the expansion of Travelstart into other key markets, as well as the growth of its product offering. The company will also develop a strategic partnership with MTN, who will support Travelstart’s expansion through its unrivalled mobile network in Africa.

Andrea Traversone, Partner at Amadeus, who led the investment, said: “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.  With this transaction, Amadeus has demonstrated its commitment to strong investment opportunities such as Travelstart that respond to these trends in emerging markets.”


Appsafrica Advisory is a private consultancy service providing expert insight helping to build strategy, drive expansion and support operations for companies entering or expanding in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Appsafrica Advisory develops strategies and drives expansion for companies entering or expanding in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are a private advisory service providing expert insight, business development and implementation assistance for mobile web and technology ventures. is a leading pan-African technology news portal and advisory service, dedicated to delivering the latest insight on mobile, tech and innovation in Africa.
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