Travel activities platform Klook receives SoftBank funding

April 10, 2019 11:15
A tour guide holding a flag walks past a fruit stall as he leads a guided walking tour hosted by Klook. The platform offers various travel activities like local tours, visits to adventure parks, and basics such as train travel, via its mobile-based and on

Klook, a Hong Kong-based booking platform for in-destination tourism services, has announced the completion of a Series D+ funding round worth US$225 million led by SoftBank Vision Fund.

The startup said in a press statement that the new financing will allow the online platform to scale up its operations, helping it expand into new geographies while also bolstering its presence in its existing Asian markets, in particular, Japan, which has been one of Klook's most important markets, and is also the headquarters of SoftBank Group.

The company plans to deepen its investments ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and will expand into additional Japanese cities.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Klook’s Co-founder and President Eric Gnock Fah said his firm expects to have a “potential role in the SoftBank ecosystem,” hinting at the opportunities to work with other Vision Fund-backed startups, like Southeast Asia-based ride-hailing giant Grab, and Indian budget hotel network Oyo, among others.

Founded in 2014 by Gnock Fah and Ethan Lin, Klook is dedicated to giving travelers access to popular attractions, experiences and services, like visits to adventure parks, scuba diving, and localized tours, with its mobile- and online-based platform. It allows users to book on-the-go and redeem the services by using QR codes or e-vouchers onsite.

With over 100,000 offerings in more than 270 destinations on its platform, the Hong Kong-headquartered startup has now established over 20 offices worldwide.

The latest fundraising comes after Klook completed a US$200 million Series D funding round in August last year, at a valuation of over US$1 billion, saying it aims to use the capital towards business development in the US and Europe, and to expand partnerships with travel service suppliers.

Klook's total fundraising since its founding comes to US$520 million, with Goldman Sachs and Boyu Capital among its previous backers.

Kook did not disclose the valuation basis of the latest round, but TechCrunch reported that Gnock Fah has confirmed that the firm has seen a rise in its valuation.

Besides the Softbank fund, existing investors Sequoia China, Matrix Partners, TCV and OurCrowd also participated in Klook's latest funding. Klook represented the first Asian investment for OurCrowd, the Israeli-based crowd-funding platform.

In its announcement, Klook highlighted its mobile-first approach, saying it will build “the world’s number one Super App for all in-destination needs.”

The startup claimed that trip bookings on mobile devices tripled last year and accounted for over 75 percent of total bookings. With the accelerating expansion plan, the company expects to maintain its strong momentum in booking growth.

Lydia Jett, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in the announcement that his firm is of the view that "Klook is a leader in taking a mobile-first approach to the travel activities and services industry.”

Last week, SoftBank Vision Fund inked a joint venture with India-based budget hotel accommodation and home rentals platform Oyo, with an aim to bring Oyo to Japan’s small and medium hotel franchises and owners.

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