In what is one of the biggest disclosed deals this year, Lagos-based online travel company Wakanow.com has secured a $40-million equity investment from US alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group.
While the company is no longer a startup, it is none the less a further indication of how deals are hotting up in Nigeria. The country accounted for the second highest value in deals concluded this year — after South Africa — that Ventureburn reported on for companies of up to seven years old — see this story).
In a statement yesterday (20 December), The Carlyle Group said the investment came from The Carlyle Group’s Sub-Saharan African fund.
Wakanow was launched in 2008 by CEO and former NBA basketball player Obinna Ekezie (pictured above). Since its launch, the company has established operations in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, the UAE and the UK.
Wakanow was founded in 2008 by CEO Obinna Ekezie
Commenting in the same statement, Ekezie said The Carlyle Group’s global footprint and experience in the online travel sector will help his company to further develop its offerings and broaden its customer base.
The Carlyle Group’s managing director Idris Mohammed said Wakanow has experienced “incredible growth” since it was launched and that the company is disrupting both the online and offline travel market.
Mohammed added that he believes the company will continue its “strong growth trajectory” given Africa’s expanding middle class and increasing internet penetration and mobile connectivity.
Featured image: Wakanow CEO and founder Obinna Ekezie (Wakanow Kenya via Twitter)