Investors back intercity coach platform Busbud

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CANADA According to the TechCrunch website, Montreal-based travel booking platform Busbud has closed a US$11m Series B round led by iNovia Capital. New investors backing the company include Teralys, Claridge and Plaza Ventures while existing investor Real Ventures also participated in the round.

Busbud’s platform is focused on intercity bus and coach travel, but it also has partnerships with some of the multi-modal travel booking platforms which are also aiming to simplify travel planning and ticket buying online, as a route to expand its reach.

The company says its website has about three million unique monthly visitors from more than 100 countries. Ticket booking is also offered via its Android and iOS apps. On the bus travel supplier side, it says it has more than 1,300 partner operators.

Erik Blachford, former CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Expedia, and Philippe Vimard, former CTO/COO (Chief Technology Officer/Chief Operating Officer) of publicly-listed eDreams/ODIGEO Travel Group (and currently CTO of doctor booking platform Doctolib) are joining as new investors and strengthening a board of directors that already includes Magaly Charbonneau, principal at iNovia.

“The global market for intercity bus travel is huge, with more passengers than air travel, yet it’s a market that has been widely overlooked by the travel industry,” said Erik. “That’s what makes Busbud such an exciting investment opportunity.”

It’s been some three and half years since external funding was last raised. The size of Busbud’s US$9m Series A in July 2014, coupled with platform efficiencies have seen it through until now, according to founders Frederic Thouin, LP Maurice and Michael Gradek.

“We’re an online travel agent and our business model allows us to be very efficient given the technology platform we’ve built on top of direct booking connectivity to thousands of bus operators worldwide,” they told TechCrunch, discussing the gap between the Series A and B, and confirming their 2011-founded business is profitable.

“Also, being based in Canada, we’ve been able to be very efficient on the cost side. We’ve balanced our budget well and generated strong growth to keep extending our runway. Busbud is making money and we’re in growth mode, with a strong potential for even faster growth with this new funding round.”

Busbud says its best markets for selling tickets are currently in North America and Europe. “We’ve also increasingly performed very well in Latin America. Our more recent expansion markets are Southeast Asia and South Africa, where we are partnering with local bus companies to offer our easy bus booking for international travellers,” they add.