Croatian startup GetByBus had 500,000 users last year, five times more than the year before. It was funded by Morten Smalby from Denmark and Ante Dagelić from Croatia, reports Poslovni.hr on February 22, 2017.
GetByBus was profitable as early as 2014, which was the first year of its business operations. Its parent company Sol Itum had revenues in the amount of 403,000 kuna, with a net profit of 104,000 kuna. A year later, revenues rose to 2.38 million kuna and net profits to 517,000 kuna. Ante Dagelić, who is also the chief technical officer, says that in 2017 they will grow even more.
Their goal is to improve bus transportation and competitiveness of Croatian tourism. “Three bus companies are already testing the system which will mean that bus tickets will be fully digitized. So, not only will the passengers be able to buy bus tickets with their mobile phones, but they will be able to confirm them as well. Of course, due to the law, printing of tickets will be done in the bus itself”, said Dagelić.
He added that they had developed another new service, which will completely digitize sales of ticket in buses in Croatia, especially on the islands. The new solution is called TicketShop and will use Google's Adwords business model. “We want to use TicketShop to offer bus carriers a complete and free solution for the management and sale of bus tickets, which will be combined with the ability to scan them with mobile phones. That will finally lead us to the digitization of ticket sales on the islands and other regions where it has not been possible until now”, said Dagelić.
Morten Smalby said that in the last three years they had become leaders in the digitization of bus transportation in Croatia and the region and have expanded into Central and Eastern Europe as well. Last year, they entered the markets of Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic. “Behind us is our best year so far, and we are very satisfied with the results. In 2016, we had more than 6 million visitors to our website, while this year we expect over 10 million visitors and the growth of sales by 50 to 60 percent”, said Smalby.
He added that they had been developing a network of partners throughout the region for the last three years. “We are present in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, and we have just come to agreement on cooperation in Serbia and Macedonia”, said Smalby. He explained that the digital transformation of bus services has attracted a range of competitors. One of them is the Croatian startup Vollo.
Smalby said that the market is very competitive, with some startups receiving investments of up to 100 million euros. “That is why last year we went beyond our region. Our goal is to cover as much of the European market as possible. As of today, you can already buy with us a bus ticket, for example, from Frankfurt to Berlin or Prague”, said Smalby.
It all started seven years ago when Smalby began blogging about Croatia as a tourist destination. After many people started questioning him on how to get here by bus, he launched a blog on the subject, and then in 2014 he launched GetByBus with Dagelić. Nowadays, their company employs 15 people.