Chernovetskyi Investment Group invested $1 Million to the International Online Bus Ticket Booking Service Busfor
The investment company Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) today announced that it has closed a $1 million deal in a bridge round with the Busfor company. Previously, the company was known internationally as Gillbus, but this name has been changed during the rebranding.
The project is an innovative infrastructure solution for the passenger road transportation market and it has already achieved a dominant position in the online bus ticket booking markets in Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Russia) and Thailand. In July, 2014, the large international investors Intel Capital, InVenture Partners and Finsight Ventures put $3 million into the company. In July, 2015, Busfor reported a 335% increase in profit as compared with the same period in 2014. Currently, there are more than 300 transport operators that directly integrate their inventories with the Busfor booking system and more than 500 partners working with the booking system as dealers.
"We were choosing an investor very carefully. We received several offers, and we have gone for 'smart money'. As early as during the time when CIG were conducting their audit and making their decision about this investment we realized how deeply they involved themselves into their projects and that they would be willing to help us on a day-to-day basis," — said Ilya Ekushevsky, Busfor's CEO.
The raised money will be used to help increase the ticket sales in those markets where the company has already achieved a sound position in terms of the volume of inventory in its booking system.
"During the several months when we were studying the project we have also managed to conduct a full-fledged study of the market Busfor works in. Bus transportation does not compete with other types of transportation. It is a niche market with a high demand for online services and virtually zero competition as opposed to a more technologically advanced air ticket market. We've highly appreciated the company's scalability (for instance, since the beginning of the year there has been a 47-fold increase in Busfor's sales in Russia alone) and its potential in terms of generating and increasing profit," — said Vladimir Krivko, managing partner of Chernovetskyi Investment Group.
Passenger bus service is one the most underestimated and underdeveloped markets. Online bus ticket booking is still in its infancy but the market has a huge potential, which is supported by the fact that the yearly offline sales go into billions of dollars.
Busfor focuses on the market of intercity and international bus transportation in the European countries and in Southeast Asia, the total size of this market exceeds $50 billion.
According to Busfor's CEO, the current sales growth rate allows to infer that in the near future the share of online bus ticketing in online transport ticketing as a whole will be growing exponentially; by 2017, the company is planning to sell more than 2 million bus tickets online. Currently, all the bus seats available for booking through the booking system are estimated at $3.5 billion given that the average cost of the average bus ticket is 1460 rubles ($23) in Russia, 475 hryvnias ($22) in Ukraine and 571 bahts ($18) in Thailand.
Busfor plans to conduct another investment round by the end of this year to speed up the development of the business in the countries of Southeast Asia.
Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) is one of the largest investment companies in the post-Soviet (CIS) market. Founded in 2013, its investment potential is more than $750 million. CIG has already invested in the following IT companies: Eda.ua, Doc.ua and Zakaz.ua (GV Machines). The latter company featured on the program of Techstars, a world famous accelerator, in Boston. In August, 2015, CIG invested $1 million in KIDO’Z (Israel), a platform for children.
Busfor (previously — Gillibus) is an international online bus ticket booking platform. It aims to modernize the passenger transportation market and to improve the service quality. The service utilizes an innovative bus ticket booking and distribution system. The company has offices in Bangkok, Moscow and Kiev. In June, 2014, the company received investments from the international funds Intel Capital, InVentures Partners and Finsight Ventures.