Online bus ticketing platform Busfor has announced a $20 million fundraising round and has earmarked to cash to strengthen its dominant position in Russia and Eastern Europe and to expand into new markets.
It says that the long distance bus market is worth $50 billion in Europe and southeast Asia alone.
The business was founded in 2012 and operates in Russia and across Eastern Europe. It also has operations in Thailand.
It provides technology for bus operators to sell their tickets to consumers via Busfor and has 5,000 bus suppliers on its books. It handles around two million customer bookings a month.
Busfor also has its own branded buses, with Moscow-St Petersburg the flagship route.
The cash will be used to ramp up its dominant position in Russia and its existing markets by “enhancing market initiatives” and capitalising on a three-fold increase in sales over the past year.
It is planning to use a franchise model for its expansion into new markets.
Private equity firms Baring Vostok and Elbrus Capital led the latest round. InVenture Partners, which led a $3 million Series A for Busfor’s parent company GillBus in June 2014, has also increased its stake.
InVenture’s portfolio includes taxi app Gett.
Baring Vostok meanwhile has a “significant minority stake” in Russian search engine Yandex, having been part of its $5.3 million Series A in 2000. Yandex is now listed on NASDAQ and at time of writing has a market cap of more than $6 billion.
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Distribusion raises Euro 6 million to expand bus ticket platform (March16)