New capital a confidence boost for Klook as the leading travel technology player in the region. Funds to accelerate the digital transformation of merchants with the development and roll-out of Klook-powered merchant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions
Klook, a world-leading travel and leisure booking platform, today announced that it has raised US$200 million in additional funding. The Series E round was led by Aspex Management, an investment fund focused on Asia Pacific, in addition to other new investors. Sequoia Capital China, Softbank Vision Fund 1, Matrix Partners China, and Boyu Capital, who are existing investors, also participated in this round of funding.
During the past year, Klook quickly re-prioritized its core strategic strengths to tackle the impact of the pandemic on the business. The company focused on two main areas – digitizing the experiences booking sector, and launching new verticals such as staycations and car rental. Key markets where COVID-19 restrictions have eased such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have witnessed increased spending on local experiences, with bookings reaching near pre-COVID levels as locals start exploring domestically.
“Despite a challenging 2020, we have shown our mettle, turning challenges into growth opportunities with agility and constant innovation. We’ve observed over the past year that consumers have a pent-up desire to explore and enjoy themselves, despite international travel being paused. Instead, they are turning inwards – exploring new and unique experiences right in their backyard,” said Ethan Lin, CEO and Co-Founder at Klook. “This new capital further strengthens our leading position to take us from defense to offense, as domestic tourism becomes ubiquitous and international travel gradually returns.”
“The travel industry has undoubtedly been hit hard by the pandemic, but Klook has shown resilience and adaptability despite the market headwinds. We believe the transition toward digital bookings will only accelerate post COVID-19, and that Klook’s ability to reinvent itself as a one-stop-shop for experiences and services across the region puts it in prime position to capitalize on this trend,” said Hermes Li, CIO and Founder of Aspex Management.
New capital to accelerate the development and digital transformation for merchants
Despite being in extended lockdowns, Klook has seen merchants in such markets who are eager to digitize their business. At the height of the pandemic, Klook onboarded 150% more activities compared to the same period in 2019. With this new capital, the company will accelerate the development and roll-out of its merchant SaaS solutions. Designed to bridge the gaps faced by merchants today, these tools will empower any merchant to build, manage, and scale their business with Klook.
Today, the company’s merchant SaaS solutions power millions of bookings for more than 2,500 merchants worldwide. Doubling down on its SaaS solutions will enable even more merchants who have had a challenging year to transform and accelerate their business by easily creating an online storefront powered by Klook. This is supported by a backend engine that manages ticketing, distribution, inventory management, marketing, and more.
From left to right, Eric Gnock Fah- COO & Co-Founder, Ethan Lin – CEO & Co-Founder, Bernie Xiong – CTO & Co-Founder
“We are setting out to reimagine the next digital leap for the experiences sector which has traditionally been fragmented with offline practices or legacy systems that do not truly address the realities of a post-COVID world. Since day one, Klook has been working closely with our merchants, both big and small, to identify common pain points that we can solve together. With this new funding, we have additional ammunition to accelerate our technology innovation, and truly transform and empower this space for future growth,” added Eric Gnock Fah, COO and Co-Founder at Klook.
In the second half of 2020, Klook piloted a series of such tools.
- Contact Tracing System: This free-to-use system was rolled out across partners’ local attractions in the Philippines, allowing for quicker identification and follow-ups should the need arise.
- Attractions Plus: Made for attractions and major establishments, this module allows customers to seamlessly access all the content they need from real-time waiting time, what to eat, to recommended itineraries with the simple touch of a button in just one app.
- Klook Live!: Interactive livestream mobile feature, users can experience merchants’ offerings up-close through entertaining and interactive instant video content. Early results observed 4 times the average uplift in conversion rates.
The company has also forged stronger partnerships with tourism boards such as the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Japan National Tourism Organization, Korea Tourism Organization, Singapore Tourism Board, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand among others, to help diversify offerings and to grow demand domestically. In Singapore, Klook was appointed by the Singapore Tourism Board as an authorized booking partner for the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV), to boost domestic demand and reinvigorate the industry. For more info, visit here.