Sonia Kabra and Wycliffe Omondi are the founders of BuuPass, an online bus, train and flight ticketing platform.
The company is currently working with 29 active bus companies and serves as the exclusive ticket provider for Kenya Railways.
BuuPass was established in response to the 2016 Hult Prize Challenge, a global student competition which launches students into developing scalable business models in order to solve global challenges.
Here is their story as told by WoK.
Kabra and Omondi first met in Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in the US where they were both attending college.
Kabra is from India while Omondi is from Kenya.
In an interview with How We Made It In Africa, the two say they came up with the idea in a bid to solve challenges facing Africa’s public transportation system.
At the moment, the company works with 29 active bus companies, boasting a fleet size of over 1,200 vehicles.
“We both shared experiences with inaccessible transportation from our home countries and had the idea to bring to market a solution that would make transportation more accessible and efficient,” they said.
The two participated in a series of student business competitions including the 2016 Hult Prize Challenge where they won Ksh 132 million.
Kabra and Omondi used the prize money to start BuuPass.
They explained that while starting off, breaking even took time over what they described as late digitization of Kenya’s transportation sector.
“Our initial solution focused on building a booking platform, but once we entered the market, we quickly realised that the main challenge was the lack of digitisation among bus operators
“Many of these companies were still using pen and paper for their ticketing processes, and they lacked a centralised data source to inform their business decisions,” the duo said.
In a bid to deal with the challenges, the two came up with a bus management system that allows clients to digitise their processes.
This way, the system allows the bus operators to set up their routes, booking stations and real-time ticket booking.
“We also identified cargo management as another challenge for bus operators, and in response, we’ve expanded our services to include a cargo management solution
“Our goal is to help digitise the transportation sector in East Africa and ultimately improve the customer experience for travellers,” they stated.