HK’s Klook raises $200m from Sequoia, Matrix Partners, Goldman

The Klook team

Hong Kong-based traveltech startup Klook has announced raising $200 million in a Series D funding round from investors including Sequoia China, Matrix Partners, Goldman Sachs, Boyu Capital, TCV, an unnamed Asia-based sovereign wealth fund, OurCrowd, and some family offices.

The latest round brings Klook’s total financing to $300 million, making it the most funded tour and activities company in the world, it said in a statement.

The startup plans to use the proceeds to drive product growth, technology innovation, and accelerate its expansion in the US and Europe. It aims to open a US office by the end of the year and intends to add more US and Europe curated services onto its platform. 

Eric Gnock Fah, COO and co-founder of Klook, told DEALSTREETASIA that certain businesses of the company are profitable but declined to reveal its current valuation. Several reports estimate that the startup has achieved “unicorn” status.

A unicorn is defined as a privately held startup that has reached $1 billion in valuation.

Klook, however, did state that the platform is on track to hit $1 billion in online bookings by the end of 2018.

Founded in 2014, Klook is a booking platform that offers attractions, tours, and local experiences as well as local transport and railway services around the globe.

When asked about Klook’s longer-term future, Gnock Fah said he does not rule out the options of an IPO or even being acquired.

“I wouldn’t rule out any possibility of being acquired or listing somewhere down the line. But for now we don’t see much strategic value in that. We are the current leader in the space and we want to focus on leading the direction of how this industry can transform,” he said.

Sequoia China, Matrix Partners and Goldman Sachs last co-led Klook’s $60-millon Series C round in October 2017. Following that round, Klook opened offices in London and Amsterdam. It now employs over 600 people in 16 offices.

“This round of funding marks an important milestone for us,” said Klook co-founder and CEO Ethan Lin. “The funding and extensive experience from our new investors will let us further solidify our merchant portfolio and provide travelers with even more activities and destinations to explore around the world.”

Recent notable funding rounds in the travel sector in Asia include Expedia’s $350-million investment in Indonesian unicorn Traveloka in July 2017 to deepen its focus on Southeast Asia. The travel startup had raised another $150 million from China’s JD.com, East Ventures, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital.

Last month, Taiwan-based tourism platform KKday raised an undisclosed investment from Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund.

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.