Travel and leisure booking platform Klook has raised US$200 million in additional funding through a Series E round led by Aspex Management and other investors.
Sequoia Capital China, Softbank Vision Fund 1, Matrix Partners China, and Boyu Capital, who are existing investors, also participated in this round of funding.
Investment confidence in Klook stems from its “resilience and adaptability despite the market headwinds”, said Hermes Li, CIO and Founder of Aspex Management.
“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,” Li added.
Throughout 2020’s travel crisis, Klook re-prioritised its core strategic strengths to tackle the impact of the pandemic on the business. The company focused on two main areas – digitising the experiences booking sector, and launching new verticals such as staycations and car rental.
Some of the new tools piloted in 2020 included a free-to-use Contact Tracing System for Philippine partners, Attractions Plus module to support attractions and major establishments, and Klook Live!: Interactive livestream mobile feature, which allows users to experience merchants’ offerings up-close through entertaining and interactive instant video content.
At the height of the pandemic, Klook onboarded 150 per cent more activities compared to the same period in 2019.
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-pandemic levels as locals start exploring domestically.
“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,” said Ethan Lin, CEO and co-Founder at Klook.
“This new capital further strengthens our leading position to take us from defense to offense, as domestic tourism becomes ubiquitous and international travel gradually returns.”
With this new capital, the company will accelerate the development and roll-out of its merchant SaaS solutions, which will empower any merchant to build, manage, and scale their business with Klook.
“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,” added Eric Gnock Fah, COO and co-founder at Klook.