[Updated] Traveloka backs $3m Series B investment in SG event tech startup PouchNATION

ox Cities Exhibition Center, Appleton, United States. Photo: Headway/unsplash

Singapore-based event tech startup PouchNATION has closed a Series B investment from Indonesian online travel unicorn Traveloka and SPH Ventures, the venture arm of Singapore Press Holdings.

The startup did not disclose the amount raised but sources familiar with the deal said it had raised around $3 million.

(DealStreetAsia had earlier reported that PouchNATION had raised around $4 million, but the story has been updated after a source with direct knowledge of the development confirmed that the event tech startup had raised around $3 million).

When contacted, the startup’s chief executive Ilya Kravtsov declined to reveal the amount it has raised and said the $3-4 million figure was incorrect.

The deal marks Traveloka’s first publicly disclosed investment in a tech startup and is part of its continued efforts to branch out into new fields related to its core online travel agency (OTA) business.

The financing follows the launch of Traveloka Xperience, a feature that enables users to find and book travel-related activities and attractions through its platform.

“We were impressed with the progress they have achieved so far in disrupting the entertainment industry and are very proud to support the PouchNATION team to further evolve their product by leveraging the synergies with Traveloka’s key business, to provide an end-to-end solution for travel and lifestyle needs,” said Sylvia Gunawan, Vice President of Revenue & Growth, Traveloka Xperience, in a statement.

PouchNATION started off by developing a near field communication (NFC) based system for guest registration, cashless payments, access control, activity tracking, social engagement and analytics reporting.

It has since expanded into event discovery and ticket purchase. The startup, which operates in 10 countries, claims to have facilitated transactions worth over $50 million. It last raised a seven-digit funding round in early 2017 backed by Malaysia’s Cradle Seed Ventures.

“The company plans to transition from being just a service provider for events and venues to being a leading entertainment platform that connects hundreds of thousands of event-goers and attraction seekers across Asia with e-commerce giants, brands and other players seeking to get visibility and exposure among their target customers,” said PouchNATION CEO Kravtsov. 

While PouchNATION counts as the first company that Traveloka is known to have acquired a minority stake in, the unicorn is understood to also have a holding in Indonesian accommodation provider Airy Room, which is believed to be a venture build project.

Traveloka is also known to have acquired three OTA counterparts – Indonesia’s Pegipegi, Vietnam’s Mytour, and the Philippines’ Travelbook – for a total of $66.8 million last year.

In April, DEALSTREETASIA reported that Traveloka had raised $420 million in a funding round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, which will be used to grow the company to become the region’s “travel super app”.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.