Klook raises US$200 mln in new funds for global business devt

August 10, 2018 10:32
Klook will focus on global business development following its series D funding round, says co-founder and COO Eric Gnock Fah. Photo: HKEJ

Klook, a Hong Kong-based booking platform for in-destination services, has completed a US$200 million (around HK$1.57 billion) series D funding round as it prepares to expand its business.

The latest funding was led by Sequoia Capital China and Boyu Capital, with TVC, Matrix Partners, Goldman Sachs, an Asian sovereign wealth fund and some family offices among the other investors.

With the new deal, the startup has so far raised US$300 million (HK$2.34 billion) to date, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Two rounds of funding in 12 months

Klook launched two rounds of funding in the past 12 months, with the previous one getting completed in October last year when it raised nearly US$60 million. The series C round was led by Sequoia Capital China, Matrix Partners and Goldman Sachs.

According to Eric Gnock Fah, co-founder and chief operating officer of Klook, the new funds will be used for global business development, where innovative technology would drive the digitalization of the tourism industry, and partnerships with service suppliers are also targeted to be enhanced.

The startup currently has no plan for a stock market float, Gnock Fah said.

Founded in 2014, Klook currently focuses on providing tourists worldwide with one-stop booking of travel activities, covering popular tourist attractions around the globe. The booking activities allow travelers to enjoy unique local experiences, apart from arrangements such as transport.

The platform supports eight languages, as well as 36 currencies for payment. The booking service is available for over 200 destinations in more than 80 countries, with more than 5,000 industry partners.

New economy: Funding drives rapid development

Gnock Fah grew up in Mauritius. He returned to Hong Kong from the United States at the age of 20. He quit his job as an investment banker, before venturing into his startup business.

In an interview with HKEJ in March, the entrepreneur offered an analogy for the era of new economy, saying it is a situation where a fast swimming fish swallows a slow swimming one, drawn from a saying in the business world, “Big fish swallow little ones.”

No matter how good a startup, if there is insufficient funding it won't progress fast, he noted.

Klook currently operates 16 offices around the world, with more than 600 employees, including Greater China, Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, India, the Middle East and Europe.

The startup will open an office in the US by the end of this year, after initiatives in London and Amsterdam.

Developing the US and European markets quickly, the company estimates its global sales this year will reach as much as US$1 billion.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 9

Translation by Jonathan Chong

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal