South African Travel Tech Startup, Conservation Club, Secures Six-Figure Pre-Seed Funding
Conservation Club, a Dutch-South African startup, has formally announced the closure of $200,000 in its first capital investment round since the startup was established in May 2020. The investment was made by seasoned Dutch angel investor Annelies van der Vorm, who will also join the new company’s advisory board as it prepares for growth over the coming few months. Key team members will be hired with the help of this financing, which will also be utilized to improve the technical infrastructure of their web platform.
Lara Dendy Young, the co-founder of the Conservation Club, states that Annelies brings a depth of experience that will lay a firm basis for the organization as it builds for the future.
Other company Co-Founder, Justin Rijnberg, adds: “We’re not only impressed by the decades of work she’s done with social enterprises and other key players in the tourism sector, but also her complete alignment with our business’ core values. Our team is excited to have her on board as we work to transform the future of travel in Africa.’
The business, which began operating formally in February of this year, is an internet platform that enables direct bookings to a variety of carefully chosen lodging options and multi-day travel experiences throughout South Africa. The goal of Conservation Club is to unite a group of like-minded locals and visitors from abroad who are enthusiastic about exploring and supporting conservation initiatives on the continent.
Impact Investor and Nuarro Lodge Co-Owner, Annelies van der Vorm, says: ‘It is a privilege to be part of this fantastic new initiative which is led by the next generation of entrepreneurs who are committed to building a sustainable Africa.’
The COVID-19 outbreak delivered the travel and tourist industry a fatal blow, slowing down conservation efforts and highlighting some of the critical issues that must be addressed within the industry. One of these issues is the low local tourism and resident conservation involvement. Due to the stringent travel restrictions put in place after the Coronavirus, the emphasis on foreign tourists has resulted in seasonal or no sales at all.
A very welcome approach is provided by Conservation Club, which focuses on memorable encounters that change people’s perspectives on conservation while giving locals access to popular locations where they may see the abundance of natural beauty that is right outside their front doors.
For now, Conservation Club is positioning itself for expansion into other African regions during the second half of the year. This is in a bid to make their mark as Africa’s backstage travel pass.