Signaling more consolidation may come, smart-bus startup Zeelo acquires Kura, a smaller player

A small U.K. startup that combined a school bus service with a software platform to safeguard pupils has been acquired by "smart buses" startup Zeelo, which last year raised a $14 million war chest for expansion.

Founded in the U.K. in 2010, Kura, which had previously raised £3.8 million in a private equity round from Souter Investments, provided a safeguarding tech platform for school and college bus transportation, and a similar service for employee shuttles and charter transport services in the U.K.

Its acquisition for an undisclosed amount by Zeelo means the combined entity will have 220 customers, 450 operator partners and 40,000 daily riders using the platform, according to the company.

Last year Zeelo secured a $14 Series A extension, taking total funds raised standing $33.6 million since it was launched in 2016. Zeelo claims its "smart bus" routing algorithm optimizes bus programs, saving clients up to 43% on their billing and increasing ridership by 50%.

The company said it planned to expand its sales and operations in the U.S. and enhance its technology platform. This was after it narrowly avoided a failed acquisition by SPAC-backed Swvl and a wave of market volatility in tech stocks.

Although Sam Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Zeelo, declined to comment on the price of the acquisition, in a statement he hinted that there was “a pipeline of M&A opportunities across” the U.K. and U.S. markets.