Transforming transportation – why we invested in Buser

End of last week, Buser, the largest Brazilian bus travel intermediation platform, announced that they have completed a $138m Series C raise. Lightrock was honoured to have led this investment round and is excited to back Buser in becoming the leading transportation alternative for passengers in Brazil. Founded in 2017 by two outstanding and visionary entrepreneurs, Marcelo Abritta and Marcelo Vasconcellos, Buser is leading the disruption in the bus transportation market in Brazil by offering a collaborative charter model for passenger transportation, in which passengers share the total freight cost. The Company’s asset-light business model is tailored to offer individuals a superior road travelling alternative compared to currently available solutions. With lower prices compared to competitors, Buser combines innovative ticketing-systems, flexible online booking, smartphone app and top safety standards with 24/7 support, providing users with an affordable, convenient, and comfortable alternative to private transportation.

As part of our investment theme “planet”, we at Lightrock invest in game-changing entrepreneurs that advance solutions in Smart Mobility and Transportation globally – the following reasons highlight why we think Buser and its founders and team are a great fit!

Tech-enabled platform disrupting the bus transportation market in Brazil

Buser is tackling a multi-billion transportation market in Brazil, which has been dominated for decades by regional players sustained by a challenging regulatory framework for new entrants. Road travel has always been the most common transportation method in Brazil, and different than other countries with large territories, Brazil has an underdeveloped railway network, especially for long distance travelling. Brazil’s state and federal regulations to passengers’ bus road travel were designed decades ago, underpinned by a completely different scenario in terms of the available infrastructure and technology.

Buser is boldly challenging the status quo and providing the stakeholders across the value chain with a superior product and better partnership alternatives (lower price, fully digital experience, high-quality services and more routes) enabled by its proprietary digital platform connecting passengers and high-quality transportation services.

Impressive growth figures, despite the pandemic conjuncture

In less than 4 years, Buser has rapidly expanded its business and reached nationwide presence. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has harmed the whole sector in an unprecedented way, Buser has showcased impressive results: (i) the number of passengers in December 2020 was 3x higher compared to the same period in 2019 and (ii) the number of trips grew by 3.5x.

Very energized and fearless team with strong entrepreneurial culture

Since Buser’s early days, Marcelo Abritta and Marcelo Vasconcellos have boldly challenged the outdated bus transportation market in Brazil backed by a tech-enabled business model and exquisite execution capabilities. In addition, the founders have gathered the endorsement of legal experts, willing to back and work for a fairer regulation of the bus transportation market.

The founders have built and nurtured a strong entrepreneurial culture throughout the organization. They have attracted great talent and plan to continue to do so to support the next growth stage of the company.

Unique and very compelling value proposition to clients and operating partners

In Brazil, bus transportation is the most affordable alternative to long-distance travelling. Buser is present in 22 out of 26 states plus the Federal District in Brazil. Its complete digitalized experience (i) prevents clients from long ticket lines in the bus station box offices, (ii) offers a complete itinerary to the most frequent routes and (iii) ensures high operational standards designed to deliver comfort and safety.

With better prices and a superior offer than the competition, Buser has cracked the old status quo of the industry and initiated a complete disruption in the market. Technology has been a key part of the company’s operational efficiency, although most incumbents have struggled to successfully implement a digital transformation in their operations.

Buser has access to a large network of operating partners, mostly small and mid-sized bus services companies. These operating partners are provided with great alternative for their continued services, avoiding long downtime periods and guaranteeing the monetization of their assets. The continued growth of the clients’ and operating partners’ base has contributed to the establishment of strong network effects for Buser.

With its innovative, tech-based solution that is disrupting the status quo, Buser is further strengthening our portfolio of businesses that seek to solve structural problems in society, focusing on large-scale systemic change. We look forward to back Buser, its founders and team in spearheading the digital transformation of the Latin American transportation market!

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