Investors confident of founders ability to scale in SEA
Aiming for much bigger round in coming months
FOUR years after it began its journey in June 2011 and 15 months after it received an undisclosed seed round from Jungle Ventures in May 2014, Catch That Bus Sdn Bhd, the company behind the bus-ticketing platform of the same name, has received a US$1.5-million pre-Series A round from existing investor Jungle Ventures, as well as 500 Startups.
Jungle Ventures led this round. It also received an RM150,000 (US$36,000) grant from Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd in 2013.
According to chief executive officer Viren Doshi, the round will help the Kuala Lumpur-based startup accelerate growth in Singapore and Malaysia, while expanding into other South-East Asia markets.
“We are looking to invest in top talent, and marketing to bring the CatchThatBus’ experience to even more travellers.
“The growth trajectory is aggressive, and we have already begun talks for a much bigger round in the coming months,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
While declining to share specific data about usage breakdown between mobile and desktop or active users, Viren (pic) said there has been rapid growth for mobile users.
“We’ve always had a strong focus on mobile users, and we've recently launched the iOS and Windows app. A typical passenger would travel at least once in three months,” he said.
In a statement, Jungle Ventures’ managing partner Amit Anand said that his firm is convinced that the CatchThatBus team would be able to scale through the region.
“This recent round is one of the first investments of our new fund, and we are excited to be able to support CatchThatBus through its growth phase,” he said.
500 Startups’ managing partner Khailee Ng added, “This model is an eventuality for every developing and developed market. And this team has proven to know local execution better than anyone else.”
From starting with two bus operators using its platform when it went live in 2013, CatchThatBus now has 30 operators and is continuing to focus on increasing the number within Malaysia and Singapore, and with an eye on the region.
“The [new] funding is timely as it helps us to expand quickly to meet rapidly growing demand,” said cofounder and chief operating officer Ashwin Jeyapalasingam.
While the idea for CatchThatBus actually came to Ashwin while he was working in India, the same pain points were evident in South-East Asia.
The company was founded with the idea of transforming the bus travel experience, making it more convenient, simple and safer for passengers, as well as opening new sales and marketing channels for bus operators.
Ultimately, bus travellers get to where they want to go with certainty and without lining up, and bus operators get more passengers.
The mobile apps allow customers to view real-time information on seat availability and schedules, and purchase tickets using either a credit card, debit card or online banking.
The focus on mobile taps into the growing shift of consumers from traditional online desktop purchases to making purchases on-the-go via mobile phones and tablets, CatchThatBus said.
CatchThatBus is available for download on Android, iOS and Windows devices, as well as on the Web.
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