Mauritian travel agency to invest in 20 Ethiopian startups

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Ruth Brook

Local travel startups are in luck as a Mauritian online travel agency is looking to give a financial boost to the tune of $25,000 to 20 Ethiopian startups focusing on the travel industry. The Mauritian travel site, Timbu.com, focuses on African destinations and has revealed plans to invest a total of $500,000 in early-stage East African travel startups.
Timbu is currently a market leader in Nigeria and other West African countries; the company has backed some startups in the region, namely Hotels.ng and OgaHotels. With its footprint already in West Africa, Timbu wants to extend its reach to the opposite end of the continent. As a result, Timbu recently launched an investment arm to fund entrepreneurs and startups in Ethiopia.
The emergence into East Africa comes at a time when there is a need to grow the existing technology ecosystem in the region, said Timbu’s media representative. The company aims to supply entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to grow the startup scene in the region.
The funding the chosen startups will receive will be a seed fund that is intended to help them launch their minimum viable products (MVPs) – an early version of their final product, with sufficient features, that can still be released for early audiences.
In order to receive the funds, startups need to be active in the travel industry and solve “real issues” in the hospitality niche. Priority is given to startups that focus on curated travel, an online travel agency service that is one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry. In addition to the financial backing from Timbu, startups will receive mentoring and coaching from the agency.
“Our intentions are to also guide the startups with getting their initial customers, gain traction, as well as provide them with the ‘best talents’, so as to assist the selected startups to gain Series A and B funding”, said the agency’s media representative.
Timbu is backed by investors who are interested in Africa’s growth and development as a travel destination. Timbu hopes this investment will encourage other angel investors to fund East African startups.
Startups wishing to apply for the funding are required to submit an application disclosing the name of their company and founders, problems they aim to solve in Ethiopia, who are their competitors and how they intend to make money.

Interested startups are required to submit a document containing the following information:

  1. Company name
  2. Company URL, if any
  3. Name and email of the founder(s)
  4. Role of each founder
  5. What your company is making and the problem it aims to solve in Kenya
  6. Who your competitors are and what gives your company edge over them
  7. How your company intends to make money

All applications should be submitted to funding@timbu.com with the subject line as “{Country} Startup Funding Application” (e.g. Ethiopian Startup Funding Application).