When they met, they had no idea that they would become co-founders of a successful online transport ticket booking platform seeking to better the transport sector. Iman Cooper and Sonia Kabra were friends way before they thought they would be business partners.
The two attended Earlham College together and it is hear that they heard about the student year long competition, the Hult Prize Challenge, and decided to take part in it. Sonia being the campus director for Hult Prize was able to bring the challenge to Earlham.
While prepping for the challenge, the duo along with their third co-founder, Wycliffe Omondi, shared the different experiences they faced in the different countries they worked and lived in. It is through this that they realized transport was actually the common denominator. They then started thinking of how they could make transport more accessible to people and this prompted them to take part in the first round of the competition. Unfortunately, they failed the campus round. Believe it or not, it was failing this first round that they are grateful today. This was their biggest learning curve. It prompted them to go back to the drawing board, carry out more research on the idea they wanted to channel out and took a second shot at the second round of the competition. The two had no idea that the 2016 Hult Prize Challenge would be the competition to change their lives and have them move to Kenya. It is here that BuuPass was founded.
BuuPass has partnered with Easy Coach Ltd for the securing of bus tickets digitally. The process of booking a ticket is quite easy and is catching on fast in Kenya. They are currently working on getting more companies to partner with.
The company has managed to get the role of being the sole provider for SGR tickets. How amazing is that? Woman Power!
The transport sector was an interest for the two ladies because they wanted to make a change in and offer solutions to repetitive problems.
“Always keep your goal in mind.” This is the quote that guides Sonia in business. The two recognise that it is a competitive sector but that really doesn’t deter them. They understand that everything they do is for the growth of the company at the end of it all. For Iman, “surround yourself with people that sharpen you, and be intentional about maintaining those relationships.” is the quote she abides to. This helps her build the relevant connections she needs for their business to thrive.
The two have different skill sets that help them better the company and the connections they make with like-minded individuals. Sonia is able to identify the different features that could be added to BuuPass to make it more accommodating to their clients while Iman is good at building relationships and seeing unexpected opportunities where there is potential.
By April this year, BuuPass will have a added a car hire section to their platform. This platform will have a variety of cars that clients can hire for various occasions.
“I like to talk to cab guys a lot because this is where I get my ideas on how to better the services we offer at Buupass,” says Sonia who actually came up with the car hire idea. To her, opportunities need to be looked for everywhere and what better way than to communicate with people?
The growth of BuuPass has also largely come from their team attending networking events and interacting with entrepreneurs. For the two, meeting a number of entrepreneurs is not really the purpose. Having a talk with that one entrepreneur who can give quality advise that can help improve the platform is what matters most.
Having identified the problems in the transport sector, BuuPass seeks to come up with solid and realistic solutions to make transport easier, safer and effective for commuters.
As an entrepreneur it is important to follow your dreams and turn them into a successful business like BuuPass. With its growth over the years, new features in the pipeline and more partnerships, we are super excited to see what BuuPass has in store for us next .