**The Exchange** Kenyan companies leads with travel-tech for hotels in Africa

Article in The Exchange, published on 2019-06-13

Cloud9xp, leading online marketplace, booking service and distributor for leisure experiences with a Kenyan base has announced that they have joined forces with one of the fastest growing and tech-enabled tours and travel companies in the region, Heartbeat Adventures.

The deal finally came to a positive conclusion after several weeks of negotiations. The two companies will continue with operations under the Cloud9xp brand, with HeartBeat Adventures’s Founder, Winnie Kimathi, being appointed as the new Managing Director to oversee day to day operations of the company, open new doors for revenue generation through curated travel packages and lead the next phase of the company’s’ growth.

Following a recent round of undisclosed investment and launching their new mobile applications earlier in the year, Cloud9xp has been on an upward trend.

The merger will allow a better customer experience and bigger product basket size. This includes in-destination management, flight and accommodation bookings for the integrated company.

This is because of Cloud9xp’s heavy investment in technology and partnerships; and Heartbeat Adventure’s experience in on ground  operations across different travel and tourism spheres, coupled with excellent customer service.

“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 Cofounder, Tesh Mbaabu.

Cloud9xp also announced Håvar Bauck as Chairman of the company, effective June 1st, 2019.

Håvar, a successful traveltech entrepreneur, is the Executive Chairman and co-founder of HotelOnline. Founded in 2014, HotelOnline is the leading digital marketer and e-commerce enabler for independent hotels in Africa.

The company has taken 1500 hotels across 18 markets to the digital era, enabling local hoteliers to compete for international guests.

“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” – Havar Bauck, Cloud9xp Chairman

Håvar has lived and worked in Norway, Belgium, Kenya and Nigeria, and has spent the past 16 years of his career in tech startups and scale-ups focusing on African markets.