Fast-growing travel experiences booking platform Klook has announced $200 million Series E funding.
The latest round was led by Aspex Management, an investment fund focused on Asia Pacific, in addition to new investors.
Existing investors Sequoia Capital China, Softbank Vision Fund 1, Matrix Partners China, and Boyu Capital also participated.
The Hong-Kong based firm said the new funding will be spent on investing in further digital transformation for merchants.
Klook said during the past year it “quickly re-prioritized its core strategic strengths to tackle the impact of the pandemic on the business”.
It added: “The company focused on two main areas – digitising the experiences booking sector, and launching new verticals such as staycations and car rental.
“Key markets where COVID-19 restrictions have eased such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have witnessed increased spending on local experiences, with bookings reaching near pre-COVID levels as locals start exploring domestically.”
Ethan Lin, chief executive and co-founder of Klook, said: “Despite a challenging 2020, we have shown our mettle, turning challenges into growth opportunities with agility and constant innovation.
“We’ve observed over the past year that consumers have a pent-up desire to explore and enjoy themselves, despite international travel being paused. Instead, they are turning inwards – exploring new and unique experiences right in their backyard.
“This new capital further strengthens our leading position to take us from defence to offense, as domestic tourism becomes ubiquitous and international travel gradually returns.”
Hermes Li, chief information officer and founder of Aspex Management, added: “The travel industry has undoubtedly been hit hard by the pandemic, but Klook has shown resilience and adaptability despite the market headwinds.
“We believe the transition toward digital bookings will only accelerate post COVID-19, and that Klook’s ability to reinvent itself as a one-stop-shop for experiences and services across the region puts it in prime position to capitalize on this trend.”
Klook said at the height of the pandemic, it onboarded 150% more activities compared to the same period in 2019.
It will invest new capital in accelerating this trend with the development and roll-out of its merchant SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions.
Klook’s merchant SaaS solutions power millions of bookings for more than 2,500 merchants worldwide.
The firm said “doubling down on its SaaS solutions will enable even more merchants who have had a challenging year to transform and accelerate their business by easily creating an online storefront powered by Klook”.
Eric Gnock Fah, chief operating officer and co-founder at Klook, said: “We are setting out to reimagine the next digital leap for the experiences sector which has traditionally been fragmented with offline practices or legacy systems that do not truly address the realities of a post-COVID world.
“Since day one, Klook has been working closely with our merchants, both big and small, to identify common pain points that we can solve together. With this new funding, we have additional ammunition to accelerate our technology innovation, and truly transform and empower this space for future growth.”