Indonesian unicorn Traveloka claims to have turned profitable in end-2020

Indonesian travel unicorn Traveloka said on Tuesday that it has managed to turn a profit in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently finalising its plan to go public.

“In pandemic struck 2020, Traveloka managed to reach profitability at the end of the year while continuously working closely with governments across the Southeast Asian markets in a bid to revive economies,” the company said in a statement.

Traveloka did not offer details on how they managed to achieve the feat in a period that left the company reeling from what it described as “the lowest business rate since inception”. However, one of its early investors, Willson Cuaca, had in an email to DealStreetAsia in January hinted that Traveloka has been burning only “low single-digit million USD quarterly” during the crisis.

The low burn rate was likely forced upon Traveloka given the terrible start the company faced in 2020. After COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the travel sector globally, Traveloka, which offers accommodation and transport reservations, as well as experiences and activities, cut over 100 jobs and closed the operations of its affiliate budget hotel startup Airy Rooms.

Despite the slowdown in business, Traveloka managed to raise $250 million led by an undisclosed global financial institution, believed to be Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and joined by existing investors, including EV Growth.

It has since claimed to have seen notable recovery in the travel industry, which has put it in a favorable position to march towards an IPO.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV last month, Traveloka co-founder and CEO Ferry Unardi said his company is planning to list in the US this year to raise funds through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The company, which also counts US firms Expedia and GFC as investors, says it is working on plans to launch financial services in Thailand and Vietnam. Traveloka co-founder Caesar Indra told Reuters that the company has formed a joint venture with one of the largest banks in Thailand to collaborate in the fintech space, and is also talking to potential partners in Vietnam.

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. 
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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.