Klook has successfully completed a US$210 million financing, supporting business growth and fortifying financial stability.
The equity round is led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from BPEA EQT, Asia investment funds Atinum Investment and Golden Vision Capital, and corporate investment arms from South-east Asia, including Krungsri Finnovate (under Bank of Ayudhya), Kasikornbank Financial Conglomerate and SMIC SG Holdings. The round also includes bank facilities from Citi, JP Morgan, and HSBC.
For many Asian markets, 2023 marks the first year of travel recovery but Klook has demonstrated business success, surpassing previous milestones with a threefold increase compared to 2019 and boasting an annualised gross booking value of US$3 billion. Notably, the company also achieved overall profitability for the first time earlier this year.
Ethan Lin, CEO and co-founder, credits this accomplishment to the collective efforts of the team in establishing the groundwork for the post-Covid era of travel.
He said: “During the pandemic, we doubled down on our resources in merchant digitisation and the expansion of our supply network, including car rentals and outdoor experiences. This positions us strongly to capture new travel trends coming out of the pandemic.”
Through increasing brand strength, strategically building on and leveraging its app-first approach to both acquire and retain customers, Klook’s success sees over 80 per cent of bookings made through mobile today. Additionally, the influx of new customers acquired in 2023 more than doubled that of 2019, while repeat customers contributed to over half of the total bookings, demonstrating the sustained customer loyalty fostered by the platform.
“Leveraging strong business fundamentals that led to significant growth in revenue and profit this year, including a threefold increase in productivity (revenue per headcount), we are set for a new phase of sustainable expansion. With Asia in the early stages of post-Covid recovery, upcoming global events like the Paris Olympics 2024 and Osaka World Expo 2025, along with rising expenditures and digital adoption, the industry outlook in Asia is exceptionally positive,” added Lin.
The global travel industry is projected to soar to US$15.5 trillion by 2033, with Asia-Pacific leading the way as the fastest-growing region. Klook remains focused on catering to the increasing demand for immersive travel among Asian customers and showcasing the best of Asia to inbound travelers.
“Our goal is to empower travellers to explore the world effortlessly through the Klook app, a one-stop platform that seamlessly connects them to a comprehensive range of in-destination services, encompassing immersive experiences and convenient ground transportation,” shared Eric Gnock Fah, chief operating officer and co-founder of Klook.
Klook will strategically allocate the new funds to three key areas for growth: in product innovation; scaling social and digital marketing through the Klook Kreator programme to drive conversions with authentic, social, user-generated content; and advancing innovation through continuous artificial intelligence (AI) integration.
Klook recently collaborated with Google Cloud to integrate Generative AI across the platform, and will collaborate with new strategic investors in the region to increase market share and boost growth in South-east Asia.