• Monday, June 17, 2024
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How Africlaim, startup redefining aviation service delivery, got acquired in 2021

How Africlaim, startup redefining aviation service delivery, got acquired in 2021

When Chibuzo Kingsley Ofulue and Ifeanyi Ezechukwu co-founded Africlaim – a start-up business dedicated to enforcing airline passenger rights which are usually neglected within the African continent and Nigeria in particular in 2016, they never imagined they would be selling it after six years.

Chibuzo and Ifeanyi were inspired to establish Africlaim when Ifeanyi’s flight from Nigeria to the United Kingdom was delayed and eventually cancelled and there was no form of compensation given to passengers even though the flight disruption was within the airline’s control.

In trying to ensure that his friend was compensated by the airline, Chibuzo and his friend began to do a lot of research on global aviation laws.

In the quest, they discovered that there was a European regulation which was drafted in 2004 and passed into law in 2005 that states that passengers are entitled to financial compensation when they are denied boarding; the flights are delayed or cancelled if the cause of the flight disruption was within the airline control.

It also states that passengers are not entitled to any form of financial claims when it is out of the control of the airline such as extreme weather conditions, war, natural disasters and the likes.

As a result of the information and determination to fight for compensation, Chibuzo’s friend was finally compensated by the airline and to change this for other passengers who had also encountered similar issues, Chibuzo and his friend established Africlaim in 2016.

Since then, Africlaim has helped thousands of Africans get compensation from airlines that denied them boarding, delayed, or cancelled their flights for issues within their control, despite the lack of passengers’ protection law across most countries on the continent.

The business also increased its offerings for clients as it expands operations into flights and hotel bookings.

Read also: Why collaborations are needed to facilitate growth in Nigeria’s aviation sector

But after Covid -19 pandemic caused havoc to the global aviation sector, Africlaim saw its steady growth since starting operations halted as it began to struggle to survive the difficult moment.

“The pandemic, really, really affected our operations,” Chibuzo says.

“At the beginning of 2020, we created like, you know, multiple contingency plans, some multiple scenarios of things that could happen, both good and bad,” he states.

“But we didn’t see a situation where air travel would come to a complete halt and we had added about seven more people to our team and we couldn’t go against the contract,” he recalls.

“We were burning lots of cash with nothing coming in at that time and it was really difficult,” he notes.

He stated that to survive the difficult moment of the pandemic impact, the business began looking at other services they could offer to stay afloat.

But things were still difficult for the business and when the offer of a sale was presented, both founders grabbed the opportunity.

“So, when things eventually got worse, the offer of a sale was looking attractive,” he adds.

Chibuzo and Ifeanyi sold 90 percent of the business in the form of shares to an Indian-based technology company with operations in the UK and Belgium.

“We signed a non-disclosure agreement and the information we can share will be kind of limited. We sold 90 percent of the shares, which was more like a sales agreement to a couple of individuals that run a technology company that’s based headquartered in India for a seven-digit figure,” he explains.

Both founders have stepped down from their managerial roles to non-executive directors in the acquired Africlaim.

On what next, he says he plans to go back to the drawing board to build another start-up that will address societal problems.

“We would give ourselves some break, at least to be able to, you know, come back stronger with a clearer mind. We are very excited about the future.”