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Wakanow.com emerged as the first of its kind in the Nigerian travel scene. Prior to its inception in 2008, there were hardly any existing online travel logistic companies taking on the burdens of Nigerian travelers who had to go through the traditional means of travel. With its rise in popularity, Wakanow.com hopes to change the status quo in the Nigerian travel industry and encourage a culture of online purchases for travel services in Nigeria.

From Professional Basketball To Online Travel 

Obinna Ralph Ekezie founded wakanow.com in 2008. Before he ventured into the career path of online travel, Obinna was a professional basketball player who played in the NBA and other leagues. He joined the basketball team in college after high school at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts. While playing for college, he was an exceptional basketball player. He played for the University of Maryland at College Park in 1995 and also got admitted into the school where he studied engineering and IBM Total Quality Management Programme. After establishing an impressive profile in his basketball profession, Obinna’s focus drifted to the traveling process in Nigeria after discovering that it was plagued with various inadequacies. First, in terms of customer service, he recognized that travel booking was more cumbersome in Nigeria than in the United States of America. Second, he observed that no online travel company existed in Nigeria at that time. He thus set out to create a system that would fill this void. After retiring from professional basketball in 2007 and returning back to pursue his newly found passion, Obinna founded Zeeptravel.com, a closed B2B (business-to-business) hostel reservation online platform for travel agents, and a precursor to wakanow.com. In 2010, during the World Cup in South Africa, Obinna and his business partner collaborated to launch wakanow.com, one of the fastest growing travel internet websites in Africa.

The Big Break

The significant breakthrough for wakanow.com came when it was selected as the official ticketer for the South African 2010 World Cup. Due to this occasion, Wakanow gained massive traction in just. The next major feat was an impressive CNBC Wakanow feature. This got the attention of executives of the New-York based multi-billion dollar investor Tiger Global, which resulted in a multi-million dollar venture capital investment in the travel technology startup. This led to the expansion of Wakanow to flight bookings, pick-up services, visa processing, and B2C (business-to-consumer) hotel reservations with a plugin to over 45000 hotels worldwide. Also, its staff size skyrocketed from a 15-man team to a whopping 180-man workforce.

Few Facts About Wakanow.com

  • Wakanow.com was launched in 2008 by Obinna Ralph Ekezie and his business partner, Ralph Tamuno.
  • Zeeptravel was the initial name of the website, but after it was selected as one of the ticket sellers at the 2010 World Cup, it evolved into wakanow.com
  • Another feather in Wakanow’s cap was when it earned a feature with CNBC in 2010, thereby catching the attention of the New-York based multi-billion dollar investment company, Tiger Global, and resulting in an undisclosed multi-million dollar investment in Wakanow.
  • Wakanow has also launched an African travel booking platform known as Destination Africa which is a one-stop travel booking platform for all categories of African travel.
  • Obinna Ekezie was named Travel Man of The Year at the2016 ATQ Travel Personality awards.
  • Since the site was founded in 2008, it has recorded over 700,000 bookings and counting.
  • Wakanow’s B2C hotel reservations are connected to over 45,000 hotels worldwide
  • The site has been awarded some notable honors including Tony Elumelu’s “fastest growing company awards”.
Wakanow aims to shape the face of travel in Nigeria and encourage Nigerians to make booking reservations online. Today, Wakanow is one of Africa’s most recognized travel brands with subsidiaries in the UK, Dubai, and USA.

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This article was first published on 21st June 2018

samuelokoruwa

My name is Samuel Okoruwa. I am an ardent researcher, reading is life and writing is fun.


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