Date
17 November 2017
Eric Gnock Fah says the new funding will accelerate the firm’s plan to expand outside of Asia and carry out product innovation. Photo: HKEJ
Eric Gnock Fah says the new funding will accelerate the firm’s plan to expand outside of Asia and carry out product innovation. Photo: HKEJ

Klook raises US$60 mln with backing from Goldman Sachs

Klook, a Hong Kong-based travel startup which runs an online and mobile concierge application for the best deals on travel attractions, tours and activities in Asia, said it has completed a US$60 million funding round that adds Goldman Sachs to its list of backers.

The latest investment round was co-led by Goldman Sachs and existing investors Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners. In March, Klook raised US$30 million from a series B fundraising led by Sequoia Capital China.

Klook co-founder Eric Gnock Fah told TechCrunch that the new funding will accelerate the firm’s plan to expand outside of Asia and carry out product innovation.

“We thought Goldman would be great value for our expansion plan [and] it is always good to have a war chest when we’re competing within the travel industry,” he said in an interview.

Founded in Hong Kong in 2014, Klook is Asia’s largest in-destination services booking platform. It offers more than 30,000 popular attractions, local experiences and services with its network of over 3,000 direct partners around the world. Klook has grown into a team of over 400 across 13 offices.

In March, Klook said it had clocked five million bookings and its latest figures are over one million bookings per month.

By far, the majority of Klook’s users are in Asia, Fah said. The startup now breaks even or makes a profit in markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

Klook mentioned expanding into the US, Europe and Oceania during its series B investment round. Fah told HKEJ that the startup will open three to five offices in the US and Europe in the coming six to 12 months, and it will expand to a team of about 600.

“We already bring Asian travelers into these [Western] destinations, but there is so much more we can do on the supply side,” Fah told TechCrunch.

“That includes working with tourism boards and merchants themselves.”

When asked about Klook’s IPO plan, Fah said that “to a certain extent, from a legal and compliance angle [related to requirements around the Goldman investment], Klook is already an IPO candidate.”

Fah earlier said the firm would likely list before 2020 in either Hong Kong or the US but now he said the proposed IPO it is “in the pipeline”.

Fah said the availability of weighted voting rights structure is a key factor for startups picking an IPO venue.

He said Hong Kong would not be his first choice for now. However, he looks forward to further details about a New Board proposed by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 26

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal

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