Online bus ticket marketplace Busbud has raised US$11 million in series B funding.
The aggregator, which displays 1.4 million bus routes worldwide, will use the capital to expand into new markets, develop technology and grow its staff numbers.
Chief operating officer Sean Shannon was previously managing director at Expedia for Canada, Latin America and Australia for 14 years.
He said: “Since I joined Busbud in 2016, we’ve been fortunate to expand rapidly, and to build a network enabling safe, fast, easy and convenient bus bookings in over 75 countries worldwide. From my past experience in online travel marketplaces, I know the road ahead for Busbud will be exciting, and with this stellar team and influx of resources, we’re well positioned to keep our feet on the gas.”
The funding round was led by iNovia Capital and includes new investors Teralys, Claridge and Plaza Ventures, as well as Real Ventures.
The trio of iNovia, Claridge and Teralys, who had previously teamed up to back Luxury Retreats, a high-end vacation rental marketplace that was acquired by Airbnb in February 2017, are reuniting for Busbud’s B-Round.
“Busbud is simplifying the travel process and making it easier for the modern-day bus traveller to book bus tickets in the same way they do flights, hotels and tours,” said Matthew Leibowitz of Plaza Ventures.
“Digital transformation is sweeping through the bus industry, driven by increased mobile adoption by travellers. Busbud is at the centre of it, bringing more customers to local bus operators and making riding the bus more convenient than ever.”
Joe Poulin, founder and chief executive of Luxury Retreats, and Peter Kern, director of Expedia and managing partner of InterMedia Partners, were also angel investors in Busbud.
“Buses and luxury vacation rentals may seem worlds apart, but from an investment perspective, Busbud has a lot in common with Luxury Retreats,” said Chris Arsenault, co-founder and managing partner at iNovia.
“Passionate founders, a unique solution to a real-life travel problem, international scale, an enviable market position and fast growth – this is exactly what every VC and PE firm is looking for, and we’re elated to support Busbud as they scale.”
The round also includes funds from new investors Erik Blachford, former chief executive of Expedia, and Philippe Vimard, former chief technology officer of publicly-listed eDreams/ODIGEO Travel Group and current chief technology officer of Doctolib, the European booking platform for doctors. Both are joining Busbud’s board of directors, as will 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 Blachford. “That’s what makes Busbud such an exciting investment opportunity.
“With over 1,300 partner operators, Busbud is already essentially the biggest bus marketplace in the world, and with this critical mass and new capital, they’re poised to be the leading ticketing partner for bus operators and favourite booking experience for smart travellers.”
Busbud co-founder and chief executive Louis-Philippe Maurice said: “The support from a group of investors with such a phenomenal track record of success is fantastic validation for Busbud and a true testament to the innovation we’re bringing to an oft-overlooked mode of transportation as well as to bus travellers worldwide.
“With their commitment to our growth, we’re confident the next leg of our journey will be a successful one.”