Kenyan travel startups Cloud9xp and HeartBeat Adventures have merged in a bid to scale faster together by providing better customer service and offering more products.
Disrupt Africa first reported on Cloud9xp back in 2016, and the startup has been busy since – raising funding, taking part in the Google Launchpad Africa accelerator, pitching at DEMO Africa in Morocco, and launching mobile apps.
An online marketplace, booking service and distributor for leisure experiences, the company has now joined forces with Heartbeat Adventures, which was founded in 2017 and is a tech-enabled tour and travel company.
The aim of the merger is to provide better customer experience and bigger product basket size, including in-destination management, and flight and accommodation bookings, combining Cloud9xp’s heavy investment in technology and partnerships with Heartbeat Adventures’ experience in on-ground operations across different travel and tourism spheres and excellent customer service.
The two companies will continue operations under the Cloud9xp brand, with HeartBeat Adventures’ founder Winnie Kimathi being appointed as the new managing director to oversee day-to-day operations of the company.
“This move extends the collaboration between the teams at the two companies, as we have already been working together over the last nine months, with Heartbeat Adventures being one of our best-performing experience providers on the Cloud9xp platform,” said Cloud9xp co-founder Tesh Mbaabu.
Cloud9xp has also announced Håvar Bauck as its new chairman. A successful traveltech entrepreneur, Bauck is the executive chairman and co-founder of HotelOnline, which was founded in 2014 and has become the leading digital marketer and e-commerce enabler for independent hotels in Africa.
“Cloud9XP is one of the most exciting ventures in the African traveltech space at the moment. The merger with Heartbeat Ventures creates a new, disruptive force in an industry begging for innovation. Hotel distribution has moved online, but tours and activities are still marketed and distributed the same way they were 30 years ago. Cloud9xp now moves to fill that space, to enable e-commerce and digital marketing for the entire industry, in Kenya and beyond,” Bauck said.