Swedish investment firm Vostok New Ventures (VNV) invested $4 million in Busfor, an online bus ticketing platform with Ukrainian roots operating across Eastern Europe. The transaction, which has been disclosed in the firm’s most recent financial report, took place at the end of the second quarter of this year.
Busfor — previously known as Gillbus — aims to change what has been mostly a grey and offline market so far. Launched in Ukraine in 2010, the company is now headquartered in Poland. It operates in Belarus, Georgia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand and several countries of the EU, according to its website.
The company claims to partner with some 7,000 bus transport companies, and hopes to sell some 4 million tickets this year. The average ticket price amounts to $22, with Busfor getting a 15% fee on each sale, reports Russian business daily Kommersant, citing company data.
The bus transportation market in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union amounts to some $9 billion, with online ticket sales accounting for just 2%-5% this year. Busfor believes online sales will grow to some 30% by 2022, and aims to control a third of this volume.
Since its inception in Ukraine in 2010, Busfor has received financial support from Intel Capital, InVenture Partners and FinSight in 2014, from Ukraine’s Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) in 2015, then from Baring Vostok and Elbrus Capital in 2016. In November last year InVenture Partners sold its share to Baring Vostok and Elbrus Capital.
Previously known as Vostok Nafta Investment, VNV has been one of the most active international players on the Russian venture market. Its most brilliant investment decision was to bet on Avito.ru at the early stages. The Russian classifieds giant was ultimately acquired by Naspers at a $2.7 billion valuation in 2015.