Transport technology business Zeelo has purchased Kura, a specialist in home-to-school services and safeguarding software.
The deal represents Zeelo’s first bout of expansion by acquisition. Combined, the two entities will have over 220 corporate and education customers and more than 450 coach and bus operator partners that collectively transport 40,000 passengers daily.
Zeelo has moved quickly to note that operators working for Kura will see no change to their contract delivery approach. Those affairs will remain on what Zeelo Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer Barney Williams says is a “business as usual” footing.
Kura contractors will continue to utilise existing billing and invoicing methods, although Zeelo notes that the deal will give a wider pool of operators the opportunity to access long-term corporate and education contracts via the Zeelo platform.
Combination of the businesses delivers what Zeelo describes as “the largest virtual bus operation in the UK.” The purchase of Kura follows a recent US$14 million fundraising round by Zeelo and it will accelerate that business’s UK profitability, a statement around the deal notes.
Zeelo Co-Founder and CEO Sam Ryan (pictured, below) adds that the purchase “will enable us to continue investing heavily in the UK operator market, working in partnership with over 450 operator partners to deliver for our customers. Without our brilliant operator partners there is no Zeelo, so we will continue to provide them with solid long-term contracts and charter work.”
Mr Ryan says that there is “a pipeline” of merger and acquisition opportunities across the UK and United States. “We are excited about what the future holds for Zeelo as we continue on our mission. We are excited to have the Kura team onboard for the journey ahead.”
As part of the purchase, customers can use a dedicated private hire team for events, transfers and school trips, as well as utilising Kura’s software-as-a-service offering. Zeelo says that platform is designed “to digitise existing operations and provide clients with the latest safeguarding features.”
Speaking about the sale of Kura, CEO Godfrey Ryan says: “This is a fantastic outcome for the Kura team and we are delighted to be joining forces with Sam and the team at Zeelo.
“From day one, Kura has had the vision to provide sustainable, efficient and safe transportation programmes for our clients in hand with our operator partners. I am excited to be working as one team as we continue to invest in our operator partners across the UK.”
Zeelo notes that its investment in electrification of services provided on its behalf will continue and that its ambition to move all of them to net-zero-emission, battery-electric vehicles by 2030 remains in place. 10% of Zeelo’s UK clients have already made that switch, it adds.