Indonesia’s travel booking unicorn Traveloka on Tuesday announced it had raised $250 million in a fresh funding round led by an undisclosed global financial institution.
The financing was joined by existing investors, including EV Growth, per a statement.
A source close to the development identified the lead investor as Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the $320 billion sovereign wealth fund of the Gulf country. We understand that Singapore wealth fund GIC Pte and existing investors pumped in a little over $100 million in the round.
Traveloka’s fundraising talks with GIC and QIA were reported by DealStreetAsia in June. Bloomberg had in July reported that the Indonesian unicorn was close to raising $250 million at a valuation of about $2.75 billion, roughly 17 per cent less than its last fundraising.
In its announcement on Tuesday, Traveloka said the fresh capital would strengthen its balance sheet and help it expand its offerings in priority areas including travel and lifestyle in key markets as well as financial services.
The round comes as a “strong vote of confidence in Traveloka’s resilience and the viability of the regional travel industry,” the unicorn said in its statement.
The travel curbs and a barrage of refund requests from travellers due to lockdown measures have forced Traveloka to cut over 100 jobs as a fallout of the pandemic, while affiliate Airy Rooms, a budget hotel startup, had to shut down.
The Indonesian unicorn has also witnessed the departure of several executives, including chief technology officer Benjamin Mann, chief investment officer Hendrik Susanto, and Singapore and Malaysia head Halif Hamzah, in recent months.
“Without a doubt, Traveloka has been profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have experienced the lowest business rate that we have ever seen since our inception. However, we always believed that the company will prevail by rapidly adjusting our strategy, working with our industry and ecosystem partners, as well as continuing to innovate for our users, our ultimate focus,” said Traveloka co-founder and CEO Ferry Unardi.
The company has in recent months launched several initiatives to cater to shifting users demands such as COVID-19 Test bundle with Flights, flexible open-date voucher for hotels, online experience programmes with top hosts and flash sale livestreams.
“I am happy to share that on the business front, we are seeing encouraging recovery across all of our key markets. Our business in Vietnam is approaching steady pre-COVID-19 levels and Thailand business is on its way to surpass 50 per cent,” said Unardi.
Indonesia and Malaysia, Unardi conceded, “are still in early stage, but continue to demonstrate promising momentum with strong week-to-week improvement.”
“We acknowledge that the sector may go through further turbulence as it navigates new waves, but we feel we are prepared to take on the challenge and emerge on the right side of it,” he added.
Established as a flight booking platform in 2012, Traveloka today offers accommodation and transport reservations, experiences and activities, a restaurant directory, bill payments and top-ups, insurance services and a credit card.
The online travel unicorn offers its services in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and Australia. It also runs a research and development centre in India. The company, one of Indonesia’s most valuable startups, has raised over $900 million in funding to date.
Its last known financing was a $420 million round led by GIC in 2019. It had in 2017 raised a total of $500 million from American travel group Expedia, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital, and East Ventures.