Quick Take 02: Investing in African Travel

"Quick Take" is a new series dedicated to short-form insights on the business of fashion and the expanding industry across the diaspora. From Johannesburg to New York, catch our take on the creatives capturing our collective imagination.


Investing in African Travel / Photo Courtesy Cherae Robinson @sasyrae

Investing in African Travel / Photo Courtesy Cherae Robinson @sasyrae


Last Friday, New York-based travel startup Tastemakers Africa announced that they closed a $1M seed round. Founder Cherae Robinson has been expanding the narrative on travel within Africa with her experience-booking app at the same time when social media influencers such as Spirited Pursuit and Asiyami Gold have gained serious popularity by documenting their frequent jaunts to Dakar, Accra, and Cape Town. Travel to Africa has long generated misconceptions, but nothing slows narrow-minded thinking more than first-hand experience and Tastemakers Africa is well-positioned to expose new and seasoned travelers alike beyond reductionist views of safari camp grounds. Robinson first found traction for her venture through mentorship and funding from SheLeadsAfrica, a women-led and women-focused business accelerator, through which she claimed the top prize of $10,000 in their annual pitch competition.

For travelers, the value proposition of Tastemakers Africa is this authentic connection to “these African narratives, becoming a part of this new culture wave through a travel experience,” said Robinson. [Disclosure: I interviewed Robinson back in 2016 for another site.] With this seed round, Tastemakers Africa joins a growing group of Africa-focused brands raising capital this year to reach more consumers globally. Albeit a bit early to consider, a strong exit strategy could be acquisition by one of the bigger travel players such as Airbnb or Booking, who have recently expanded their experiences offering yet have limited expertise on the continent.