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Thu 2 May 2019 12:35 PM

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UAE-based travel firm Wego eyes US IPO

Wego saw over $1 billion in bookings and a 60% rise in revenue in 2018

UAE-based travel firm Wego eyes US IPO
Wego, which was founded in 2005, is partly owned by MBC Group, which gave the firm $12 million in funds in 2017.

Dubai-based online travel marketplace Wego plans to go public in the United States “in a few years” after it arrives at a market cap of $1 billion, according to CEO and co-founder Ross Veitch.

In an interview with Arabian Business at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, said that the company has been growing at a 45 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

“We’re trying to figure out how to get the business up to a scale where we can take it public in the US probably, in a few year’s time,” he said. “The US markets are where all the world’s biggest online travel companies trade, whether from China or India or Latin America.”

“A few things need to right right,” he said. “For it to make sense in the US with all the market dynamics, we’re hoping to get up to a market cap of about $1 billion. We have a couple of years to grow into that yet.”

Veitch declined to give a more specific timeframe for the possible IPO.

Earlier this year, Wego - which is dual headquartered in Dubai and Singapore -  was named by the World Economic Forum as one of the 100 most promising Arab start-ups re-shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Growth expectations

In 2018, Wego recorded over $1 billion in bookings for flights and hotels, while revenues grew 60 percent compared to 2017, which Veitch said was largely due to its footprint in the Middle East.

He added that the company expects similar growth figures in the coming years.

“I’m actually challenging my team to take it up a notch this year,” he said. “I think we can grow at similar rates for a few years, but at some point you run into the law of large numbers. But, we have a ways to go.”

Wego, which was founded in 2005, is partly owned by MBC Group, which gave the firm $12 million in funds in 2017.

“They’ve been great at helping us build the brand across the Middle East through it’s satellite TV footprint, all across the Gulf and into North Africa,” Veitch added. “TV still works.”

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