GoZayaan has acquired Pakistani company FindMyAdventure, making it the first travel tech platform in Bangladesh to take over any business beyond its borders.
The local start-up says its overseas expansion was in line with its aim to play a key role in shaping the future of travel in the South Asia region, paving the way for solutions technology-based innovations.
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The main reason for acquiring a Pakistani platform is geographical similarity, internet penetration and user behavior in terms of travel booking.
For the acquisition, GoZayaan has raised an undisclosed amount in expanded seed funding backed by existing investors Nordstar Partners, DST Global Managing Partner Saurabh Gupta and PAYBACK founder Alexander Rittweger.
Its $2.6 million seed round closed last year, led by Wavemaker Partners and joined by venture capital firms Ratio Venture, 1982 VC, Iterative, Century Oak Capital as well as current and former executives from Airbnb.
Pre-seed funding for Go Zayaan was raised from Brac Osiris Impact Ventures.
“Bangladesh has the potential to create not only local but also regional or global businesses. We are going to try exactly that,” GoZayaan CEO Ridwan Hafiz told the Daily Star.
“It opens up a total addressable market for us which is huge because together Bangladesh and Pakistan make up 5% of the total world population. We said we were going to create the future of travel; well, the future starts now” , did he declare. .
The acquisition also signals a boom in new travel agencies in the South Asian market, it said in a statement.
GoZayaan’s plan is to meet the needs of more customers with better user experience and technology support and to offer more digital solutions to make travel more convenient.
HISTORY OF GOZAYAAN
While traveling in several countries, Hafiz realized that destinations could use a wide range of services through online platforms such as Expedia, Booking.com and Klook – services that are not available in Bangladesh.
When travelers to Bangladesh book a trip through offline agencies, they miss two things: control over the customization of their trip and a lack of clear information.
In August 2017, Ridwan founded Go Zayaan to fill that void and put travelers in charge of their travel plans. Since then, he has been trying to implement an end-to-end automated travel reservation system.
“Bangladesh has huge potential in the travel market. However, much of the industry is dominated by offline agencies,” Hafiz said.
“GoZayaan’s goal is to bring change to this market by converting the offline market to online with innovative technology-driven solutions.”
GoZayaan’s main products are booking domestic and international flights and hotels, intercity bus tickets and organizing local tours. Its support services include booking Covid-19 tests for international travelers and arranging travel loans and insurance.
On how the pandemic has affected the overall travel technology market, he said it is devastating for the travel industry in Bangladesh.
Industry insiders reported a drop in business of more than 50%, with hotels, transport and travel companies barely able to stay operational.
“However, the company’s passion for solving problems through rapid technology adoption was proven when it saw nearly 10x growth in the year 2021 – a time when tourism was at an all-time low due to the pandemic,” Hafiz said.
He said GoZayaan seized the pandemic as an opportunity, finding that people in Bangladesh had become more willing to travel across the country.
GoZayaan capitalized on this.
It has partnered with more than 400 hotels across the country, onboarded intercity bus companies, and organized tours to top tourist destinations.
The company has all the national airlines – Novoair, US-Bangla Airlines and Biman Bangladesh Airlines – on its platform.
Initially with only five employees, it now employs a hundred people.