Eyes on growth as Zeelo acquires Kura

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Zeelo has acquired school transport specialist Kura. ZEELO

With a view to expanding its portfolio, corporate travel specialist Zeelo has acquired Kura, which operates in a similar field and specialises in school transport

Smart transport provider Zeelo has acquired UK-based school transport and transport safeguarding software specialist Kura. The company says the acquisition furthers its position as the UK market leader in the corporate and education transport markets, the news coming after a recently announced $14m round of fundraising with a view to furthering its UK profitability and driving a rapid expansion in the US market.

Founded in the UK in 2010, Kura has established itself in the Education transport sector, with its technology consisting of a Software as a Service (SaaS) and Transport as a Service (TaaS) platform, providing enhanced safeguarding features designed to provide schools and colleges with safe, efficient and sustainable transportation programmes. Kura also provides employee shuttle and private hire transport services.

Zeelo says the combined businesses will have the largest virtual bus operation in the UK, with over 220 customers, 450 operator partners and 40,000 daily passengers using the platform. Co-founder and CEO Sam Ryan said: “After our recent $14m fundraise announcement, I’m delighted to be sharing the news of further growth through the acquisition of Kura. We were impressed with the world class technology and the high quality service delivery provided by the Kura team. Their complimentary business model will further accelerate our profitability in the UK. This is the first of many M&A opportunities that will play an important role in our growth strategy as we continue to scale in the UK and US markets.”

Kura CEO Godfrey Ryan added: “This is a fantastic outcome for the Kura team and we’re delighted to be joining forces with Sam and the team at Zeelo. From day one, Kura has had the vision to provide sustainable, efficient and safe transportation programs for our clients and I know the Zeelo team shares this same vision. I’m excited to be working as one team as we continue to serve our fantastic customers across the UK.”

Zeelo says the acquisition further supports its growth strategy and widens its product offering to clients, which adds a new dedicated private hire team for events, transfers and school trips as well as benefiting from Kura’s SaaS offering, designed to digitise existing bus operations and provide its clients with the latest safeguarding features.

The company says it plans to continue to invest in SaaS product development and is already piloting the offering with corporate clients and fleet operators across the US market as part of its expansion plans.

Meanwhile, Kura’s clients will be able to benefit from Zeelo’s routing algorithm, which uses data to optimise bus routes, which can save clients up to 43% on their billing and increasing ridership by 50%, the company says. Investment will also continue in its electrification of bus programmes, as it aims to transition all its services to zero-emission battery-electric vehicles by 2030.

Sam continued: “With a fast-growing US business, a profitable UK business and a pipeline of M&A opportunities across both markets, we are excited about what the future holds for Zeelo as we continue on our mission. We’re delighted to have the Kura team on board for the journey ahead.”