Date
21 November 2018
Tink Labs, which offers the ‘handy’ smartphone service to hotel guests for free, is said to be roping in additional investments that could see its valuation hit the US$1.5 billion mark. Photo: Tink Labs
Tink Labs, which offers the ‘handy’ smartphone service to hotel guests for free, is said to be roping in additional investments that could see its valuation hit the US$1.5 billion mark. Photo: Tink Labs

Tink Labs raising US$300 mln in new funding: report

Tink Labs, a Hong Kong-based startup that offers free-to-use smartphones docked in hotel rooms, has launched a new funding round worth up to US$300 million, according to TechCrunch.

Citing sources with knowledge of the plans, the tech news website reported that Tink Labs is in the final stages of completing the deal, which could take its post-money valuation to at least US$1.5 billion.

Tink Labs claims that its product, handy, is now available in 650,000 rooms in 4,000 hotels in 82 countries. The mobile devices come pre-loaded with local city guides and are offered free of charge to hotel guests.

In July, the startup received an investment from SoftBank, with the Japanese tech conglomerate participating in a joint-venture for the Japanese market.

Existing investors also include Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn, via the FIH Mobile unit; former Google China head Lee Kaifu; and Cai Wensheng, founder of Chinese photo-touch-up app Meitu.

Tink Labs’ valuation reached over US$500 million in 2016, its founder and CEO Terence Kwok told TechCrunch in an interview previously.

The firm’s ambition is to become “the single ecosystem for all of the travel, encompassing the entire journey of the traveller from end to end,” he said.

According to TechCrunch, it is not clear which investors are part of the latest funding round, but it cited a source as saying that Tink Labs has made an effort to court hotels and travel firms as investors, since it believes they could provide strategic value beyond simply capital.

The startup plans to further its international footprint with fresh capital.

A source close to the company told TechCrunch that Tink Labs landed an undisclosed deal in 2017 that took its valuation over the US$1 billion mark and made it one of Hong Kong’s first unicorns.

Tink Labs’ product, handy, was launched in July 2017 as a complimentary hotel service. It offers hotel guests free mobile internet access, and enables users to contact the hotel concierge, make unlimited local and international calls, and view multilingual tourist information.

Well-positioned in Japan, its largest market with over 810 hotel deployments, the service counts Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, IHG, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, and other luxury and budget hotels among its clients.

In a previous interview, Handy Japan CEO Hironori Katsuse said the service will benefit from the tourism boom in Japan that is expected to come with the approach of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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BN/RC

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