SleepOut: disrupting Kenya's travel industry
Africa's booming e-commerce sector has a new rising star. SleepOut, a platform that connects travellers with accommodation options at discounted rates, has quickly established itself as the region's preferred online booking portal.
With the growth of e-tourism in Africa showing no signs of slowing down, SleepOut is capitalising on this trend and expanding rapidly. Since its humble beginnings as a hobby website for founders Johann Jenson and Ayako Bertolli in 2011, SleepOut now has an extensive portfolio of unique accommodation in 425 cities across 56 countries.
Suppliers are charged a listing fee, but they're still eager to join as the site helps to fill rooms that would otherwise be empty. There's certainly no shortage of properties on offer, either; hotels, private houses and tree houses are just a few of the options available on the site's recently improved user-generated platform.
SleepOut's business model and the insatiable demand for e-tourism in Africa have an obvious attraction to venture capital outfit the Africa Media Ventures Fund. The Netherlands-based firm, which focuses on sub-Saharan Africa media businesses, provided SleepOut with its initial funding and set it on its current course for success.
With their rapid growth and expansion further and further overseas, the Goliaths are sure to be watching with interest as SleepOut wakes up Africa's online accommodation industry.