The world’s first venture studio with a tourism focus, Purple Elephant Ventures (PEV), is based in Kenya and has closed a pre-seed investment of $1 million. The investment will be used by the venture studio to create at least three startups annually.
Fede Pirzio-Biroli, the founder of Playfair Capital, Ian McCaig, the former CEO of lastminute.com and a board member of M-Kopa, Anthony Rock, the president of Rock Impact Capital, The Untours Foundation, Rich Hoops, executive director at Impact Capital, Jim Villanueva, managing director of Global Partnerships Social Venture Fund, and Helena Riese Harstad, co-founder of PEV, all participated in the pre-seed
PEV has established two startups so far. The first is Nomad Africa, a content-to-commerce company that educates the African continent’s domestic travel market about eco-friendly and regional travel options. The other is Elephant Bookings, a SaaS company that assists African hospitality businesses in going online to increase efficiency.
Ben Peterson, CEO of Purple Elephant Ventures, commented on the financing by saying, “We’re sitting on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to modernise a significant continental business while generating genuine climate action gains. African economies rely heavily on tourism, but tragically, there have only been a few firms that have attempted to modernize this primarily offline sector. We came to the conclusion that the sector could benefit from dozens of startups, each tackling a distinct set of significant problems, thus we created PEV.