Klook, the Hong Kong-based travel business platform backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, announced the closing of a $ 200 million financing for its Series E, bringing the total capital of the start-up raised to date at $ 720 million.
Aspex Management, an Asia-Pacific-focused investment fund, led the round, alongside existing backers Sequoia Capital China, Softbank Vision Fund 1, Matrix Partners China, Boyu Capital, as well as a handful of new investors.
Securing significant funding at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is sacking the global economy is a blast, not to mention that Klook is in an industry severely affected by the virus. The startup, which allows its predominantly Asian-based users to book activities in overseas destinations, lost millions of orders in the first months of travel restrictions. The company quickly regrouped as a hub to staycation and software as a service for local merchants, including ticketing, distribution, inventory management and marketing. Reservations then rebounded.
“There are things to do around the house, as well as local things to do when people can travel,” co-founder and COO Eric Gnock Fah told TechCrunch in an interview last July. “Now [the pandemic] gives us the opportunity to add a new aspect to it. “
The arrival of new funding seems opportune. Klook achieved profitability in a number of markets last July, but overall it was still in an aggressive expansion mode, he told TechCrunch at the time. Founded in 2014, Klook surpassed $ 1 billion in valuation in 2018, but declined to reveal its latest post-monetary valuation, which has almost certainly increased since achieving unicorn status. The company currently has no plans to go public, a spokesperson told TechCrunch.
In Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where restrictions on COVID-19 have gradually eased, Klook said he saw an increase in spending on local activities, with bookings reaching near pre-COVID levels. At the height of the pandemic, Klook integrated 150% more business compared to the same period in 2019.
Today, Klook’s SaaS software powers millions of bookings for more than 2,500 merchants around the world. With the proceeds from the new investment, it will continue to work on the development and deployment of its merchant SaaS solutions.
“This new capital further strengthens our leadership position to move us from defense to offensive as domestic tourism becomes ubiquitous and international travel gradually returns,” said Ethan Lin, co-founder and CEO of Klook.