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SleepOut – Kenya’s leading online accommodation marketplace announced today that it has raised approximately US$200 000 in seed funding, intended to finance expansion across Africa and the Middle East.
The site, which allows users to find, offer and book accommodation, launched its BETA site in June 2012. Leading the funding round for the Nairobi-based company was Africa Media Ventures Fund (AMVF) coming out of Amsterdam.
Lot Carlier, Managing Partner at AMVF remarked, “We are truly excited to embark on this venture. As internet penetration and e-commerce increases on the continent a new consumer class is emerging and SleepOut is simply in the right place at the right time. Together with a solid expansion strategy and a seasoned team with vast regional networks we are confident that SleepOut will provide a best-in-class service across these expanding markets.”
Johann Jenson, CEO and co-founder of SleepOut remarked that, “in taking this big step forward we wanted a partner that could bring their wealth of industry expertise to see SleepOut consolidate its position as the region’s leading social accommodation marketplace and we look forward to working together as we expand across the region.”
SleepOut has also introduced NOMAD, its online travel and lifestyle magazine focused on Africa and the Middle East – the first of its kind in the region. The magazine will operate as a platform for users to not only read travel stories, but also submit their own for publication by the editors.
One of SleepOut’s appealing factors is its unique SMS-driven process to facilitate online bookings, which enables users to book destinations that are more “off-the-grid.”
“SleepOut provides choice, efficiency and piece of mind for travellers wishing to discover a rapidly modernising Africa. The concept is simple: SleepOut connects travellers looking for unique and affordable accommodation with hosts who have a place to offer” said Mikul Shah, COO and co-founder.
SleepOut will be re-launching its platform by late 2013, and will offer accommodation options in ten countries across Africa and the Middle East.