How this Hong Kong-based Travel Unicorn Is Planning to Make Its Mark In the Asian Market
With new startups born every month, the travel industry is now growing at a rapid pace. The consumer-facing travel platforms are gaining a lot of traction because they aim to ease the tiresome booking process. Similarly, Hong Kong-based Klook offers a simple way to discover activities, attractions and things to do around the city through its platform. The travel activities and services’ booking platform has raised US$225 million in Series D+ funding. This increases the unicorn’s total Series D funding round to $425 million.
The SoftBank Vision Fund led the funding round with participation from existing investors, including Sequoia China, Matrix Partners, TCV, and OurCrowd. This represents the largest financing in the global travel activities and services’ industry so far/till date.
Tracing the Journey
In just four years, Klook has become the most searched travel activities company on Google. Last year, the Hong Kong-based company expanded its global footprint to Australia, Europe and the United States to deliver new consumer experiences. The company also entered into major global partnerships with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Asia Pacific's leading luxury hotel group, and Rail Europe, a leading distributor of European rail products that represents more than 50 railroads throughout Europe.
With the additional funding, Klook will scale its operations into new geographies and continue to expand in its existing Asian markets. For example, Japan is one of its most important markets and is also the headquarters of SoftBank Group. The company plans to deepen its investments ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and will expand into additional Japanese cities to better serve both inbound and outbound visitors.
"Our vision is to bring the world closer together by connecting the best of what a destination has to offer with travelers from all over the globe," said Ethan Lin, chief executive officer and co-founder of Klook.
Why Mobile First Strategy?
Eric Gnock Fah, chief operating officer and co-founder, Klook, believes this latest investment is a true testament to the progress made by the Klook team in building the world's number 1 super app for all in-destination needs. The company continues to see success in its mobile-first strategy. In 2018, trip bookings on mobile devices tripled and accounted for over 75 per cent of total bookings. Coupled with an accelerated expansion plan to grow its global footprint and service offerings, the company is expected to maintain its strong momentum with triple-digit growth in bookings.
"We believe Klook is a leader in taking a mobile-first approach to the travel activities and services industry. The company has seen great success in scaling its business across different geographies and cultures, and we are excited to help them drive further innovation in the global travel industry,” said Lydia Jett, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.