Kolors is a startup that connects intercity bus users with the drivers of these buses, and it has now acquired Urbvan, which has been dedicated to transporting its users in shared vans. This operation was completed for 12 million dollars in cash, as reported by the company.
Rodrigo Martínez, CEO and co-founder of Kolors, states that their service is like if Uber and Southwest Airlines had a baby. This startup partners with small and medium-sized bus operators who provide scheduled services, thus maintaining an asset-light business model.
To offer a superior service, Kolors sends one of its employees on board each bus to invoice passengers, accept cash payments if necessary, as well as sell beverages and snacks.
The acquisition of Urbvan, previously owned by Swvl, a direct competitor of Kolors based in Dubai, provides an effective solution for the startup’s service in Mexico. Urbvan has an asset-light business model, with more than 500 vans on its platforms and hundreds of B2B clients.
This acquisition will allow Kolors to connect business travelers between cities, within cities to corporate offices, industrial parks, factories, and distribution centers.
The combined service will be available in 40 cities across Mexico. Currently, Urbvan operates in 24 cities throughout the country, from Tijuana to Cancun.
“Not only is Urbvan in great shape, but the main reason for the acquisition was to complement Kolors’ digital mass mobility ecosystem and offer our passengers complementary mobility alternatives.”
“Especially when 30% of Kolors’ passengers travel for work, and their tickets are paid for by an employer; and all Urbvan passengers are potential travelers for Kolors’ intercity bus ecosystem,” explained Rodrigo Martínez to TechCrunch.
When Kolors launches its application in late 2023, it will merge its intercity and vans services. Until that happens, the Urbvan application will continue to function independently, assured the CEO of the startup.
Kolors’ co-founder said that the company used the money from a pre-Series B round to finance the acquisition of Urbvan. The Mexico City-based company revealed that the round doubled its valuation and is now in the nine figures.
Urbvan has consolidated itself as a profitable and growing business, so it’s not entirely clear why Swvl decided to sell it, Martínez expressed. Swvl acquired Urbvan in July 2022, to extend its reach in Mexico, but according to sources consulted by TechCrunch, Swvl has sold some of its businesses worldwide over the past year as it strives to stay afloat.
Kolors has raised 20 million dollars and is supported by Toyota Ventures, Up Ventures, Tuesday Capital, Maniv Mobility, and Garrett Camp, co-founder of Uber. After expanding its service with Urbvan, the startup projects to transport over 5 million passengers by the end of 2023.
Kolors aims to achieve over 100 million dollars in annual revenue within 12 to 18 months, thanks to the acquisition of Urbvan. They also plan to reach the United States and other countries by the end of 2024.
“This acquisition drives our growth and solidifies our leadership in next-generation land mass mobility solutions,” highlighted Kolors’ co-founders, Rodrigo Martínez and Anca Gardea.