Kolors, a startup hailing from Mexico City that specializes in connecting intercity bus passengers with drivers, has made a significant move by acquiring Urbvan, a B2B van pooling provider, for USD $12M in cash. The announcement of this acquisition was made by the company on Wednesday.
Rodrigo Martínez, the CEO and co-founder of Kolors, often describes his service as a hybrid of Uber and Southwest Airlines. The company collaborates with small and medium-sized bus operators who are already running their scheduled services, allowing Kolors to maintain a business model that is light on assets. However, to provide an extra layer of comfort and convenience, Kolors assigns its own staff members to ride on each bus. These onboard employees are responsible for passenger check-ins, handling cash payments when necessary, and offering snacks and beverages to travelers.
The acquisition of Urbvan, which was formerly under the ownership of Swvl, a Kolors competitor based in Dubai, will significantly enhance Kolors' services in Mexico. Urbvan, like Kolors, operates with a business model that is light on assets and boasts a fleet of over 500 vans and shuttles on its platform, serving numerous B2B clients. This acquisition will enable Kolors to not only facilitate travel between cities but also within cities, connecting corporate travelers to offices, business parks, factories, and distribution centers.
With this merger, the combined service will be made available in a total of 40 cities throughout Mexico. Presently, Urbvan operates in 24 cities across the country, spanning from Tijuana to Cancún.
Rodrigo Martínez expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition, stating, "Not only is Urbvan in great shape, but the main reason for the acquisition was to complement Kolors's digital mass mobility ecosystem and offer our millions of passengers complementary mobility alternatives, especially when 30% of Kolors passengers travel for work, and the tickets are paid for by their employers (potential B2B clients). All of Urbvan's passengers are also potential travelers within the Kolors intercity bus ecosystem." This strategic move positions Kolors as a major player in Mexico's rapidly evolving mobility landscape.