Travelstart Group Gets New Investor & Acquires New Company

LAGOS, 11 June 2019 - Travelstart, Africa’s largest online travel company announces a new partnership with global private markets investment firm HarbourVest, with $58 billion under asset management.

HarbourVest will support Travelstart’s further expansion in geographies and growth in new verticals in the continents $194 billion tourism and travel market. The investment comes on the back of MTNs Asset Realisation Program. MTN and Travelstart will continue their commercial relationship.

“The partnership with HarbourVest is a confirmation of the future opportunity in online travel in Africa, our business and our team,” said Stephan Ekbergh, Founder & CEO, Travelstart Group.

Travelstart to acquire Club Travel

On the heels of this deal, Travelstart continues its growth trajectory in Africa as it is set to wholly acquire the Club Travel Group, a South African travel company. The acquisition will boost Travelstart's offering by adding Club Travel’s established complementary corporate and franchise divisions, creating a formidable full-service African travel group. Philip Akesson, Country Manager, Travelstart Nigeria added ”The investment - coupled with the Club Travel acquisition - strengthens our overall group and will as a result help us continue to accelerate our growth in Nigeria”.

With the acquisition, Travelstart and Club Travel enter a co-operation which will enable the former to expand its business and reach new customers, and the latter to gain the expertise to deliver digital product innovation and remain competitive. Club Travel will continue as a standalone company within the Travelstart portfolio. Thebe Tourism Holdings (Thebe), the majority shareholder of the Club Travel Group since 2009, will sell its stake in the Club Travel Group to Travelstart. Thebe and Travelstart will jointly invest in and own Club Travel Corporate.

The closing of the deal is subject to the approval of the Competition Commission of South Africa.

About Travelstart

Travelstart is an online travel company founded on two basic principles; simplicity and best price. The company was founded in 1999 and operates in several countries around the world with offices in Nigeria, Egypt, UAE and South Africa. The Nigerian office, which is in Lagos, opened in 2012 and focuses on making travel simple by providing an easier way to book online. Travelstart has seen double-digit growth and profitability since inception and is backed by Amadeus Capital Partners and HarbourVest. For more information visit

About HarbourVest

HarbourVest is an independent, global private markets investment specialist with 36 years of experience and more than $58 billion in assets under management, as of 31 December 2018. The firm’s powerful global platform offers clients investment opportunities through primary fund investments, secondary investments, and direct co-investments in commingled funds or separately managed accounts. HarbourVest has more than 500 employees, including more than 125 investment professionals across Asia, Europe and the Americas. This global team has committed more than $35 billion to newly formed funds, completed over $19 billion in secondary purchases, and invested over $9 billion directly in operating companies.

About Club Travel Group

Club Travel was established in 1987 with the simple philosophy of always giving the client the best deal. Club Travel subscribes to a culture of service excellence which is carried through in the selection of employees who display a passion for people. The company has grown from a single branch into an award-winning travel agency which includes leisure travel, over 400 branded and non-branded franchises and a corporate travel division. The Club Travel Group is committed to meaningful empowerment and transformation in the South African travel and tourism sector. It’s corporate trading subsidiary, Club Travel Corporate, is a Level One B-BBEE contributor, with a 135% procurement recognition. Club Travel’s social investment initiative “Club Cares” is dedicated to community development and upliftment through a wide range of causes. For more information visit

Thebe Tourism

Thebe Tourism Group is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Thebe Investment Corporation. Formed in 2001, the group is the oldest black-empowered South African tourism group. It holds a significant portfolio in tourism and related industries including tourism attractions, hospitality, inbound and outbound tourism, car rental and group travel. Thebe Tourism focuses on making tourism accessible to all and is committed to ensuring responsible tourism is practiced throughout all its businesses. The group aims to offer innovative, integrated, market-driven products. For more information visit

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