Philippines’ iWantSeats secures seed funding, to boost online bus booking biz

Visual from company website.

Philippine-based startup iWantSeats has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a local angel investor and the company is working towards  boosting its online bus booking service, an executive with the firm said.

iWantSeats managing director Samantha Kapunan told DEALSTREETASIA that Tagcash Ltd founder Mark Vernon made the investment.

Tagcash is a $2m paid up capital company based in Makati City whose current objective is to enable micropayments worldwide.

Kapunan said it was the company’s first outside investment from an angel investor this year, and added that iWantSeats was now into product development, talent acquisition, increasing partnership and marketing efforts.

Founded in 2014, iWantSeats’ goal is help customers reserve bus seats online and avoid the long lines and waiting times.

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“Our angel investor Mark Vernon of Tag Cash is more than just an investor. He has been our adviser and partner in payment solutions,” Kapunan said. “We want to make it easier for everyone, for both the operators and their passengers, by utilising today’s technology.”

Kapunan said iWantSeats’ online bus bookings have gained significant traction since they started in 2014, as they were also able to expand to other related services.

“With growing online penetration and increasing adaptation of e-commerce and automation, we’re well-positioned in this upward growth trend,” she said.

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Kapunan said the iWantSeats team views the transportation industry, especially the land and sea transport as still “widely underserved.”

And since airlines, hotels, events, and even movie seats can be booked online, she said bus operators should be able to easily offer their seats online in the same way, especially since online presence, engagement, and transactions are becoming more and more expected and, in fact, demanded for.

“It simply now makes more sense to bring your business online, more so in transport as it’s part of people’s daily lives. It saves customers time and money, and operators get better insights and become more accessible in this mobile world,” Kapunan said. “There is so much to work on. These possibilities excite us and we look forward to being part of fulfilling them.”

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.