Vietnam’s hotel booking app Vntrip grabs $3m from former Alibaba CTO, others

Vietnamese online travel agency Vntrip.vn Monday said it had landed $3 million in series A funding from a small consortium of overseas investors led by former Alibaba veteran John Wu.

This is the startup’s first fundraising round supported by foreign investors, the hotel booking platform said in a statement.

The identity of the other investors in the company was not disclosed.

The round is led by Wu’s FengHe Fund Management and Hancock Revocable Trust, and marks one of the largest Series A investments in a Vietnamese internet startup from foreign investors. It comes less than a month since the company launched its commercial site www.vntrip.vn.

John Wu, who was Alibaba’s CTO in the 2000-2007 period, was named “China Angel Investor of the Year” in 2014 by the Chinese edition of Entrepreneur. He was also an investment partner of Northern Light Venture Capital, a VC firm with $1 billion assets under management. Wu currently heads FengHe Fund Management.

Scott Hancock, who runs Hancock Revocable Trust, has more than 20 years private equity and early stage investing experience while holding senior positions at Oak Hill Capital, Continuity Capital Partners and Deep Sky Capital.

Both lead investors will have board seats at Vntrip.vn.

“The financing will be used to serve the expansion roadmap of Vntrip.vn, starting with offering free shuttle services from the airports for customers booking through the platform. The proceeds will also be used to provide discounts and free stay for loyal customers,” the company said.

Founded in 2014, Vntrip.vn had tied up with Booking.com, a unit of America’s $65-billion Priceline Group, to establish one of Vietnam’s largest online hotel booking networks. It is currently connected to over 906,000 Vietnamese and international hotels.

Vntrip.vn was also the first Vietnamese OTA startup to have a mobile hotel booking app, the company’s statement added.

“Hancock Revocable Trust is excited to be an early-stage investor in Vntrip.vn because we can see the opportunity to build the dominant market leader in an industry that will reach nearly $1 billion in revenue within the next five years,” said Hancock.

“The opportunity for Vietnam’s leading OTA is enormous. Lam and his management team have already proven to have an uncanny ability to tap into this market with immediate success,” Wu said.

Prior to Vntrip.vn, several booking and tourism startups from Vietnam or having operations in the country have raised venture capital funding within the past year. Triip.me, a platform that provides customized tours, secured $500,000 investment from Gobi Partners earlier this year, while last-minute hotel booking app HotelQuickly is busy working for a series B financing after having attracted $6 million funding.

In addition to that, Navi was the latest booking service provider to win $25,000 from Malaysia’s 1337 Ventures.

Despite a difficult year of 2015 for the hotel industry in Vietnam, caused by a crisis in some major economies, the sector still grossed VND338 trillion ($15 billion), according to a Grant Thornton report. It was 40 per cent higher than the previous year’s turnover thanks to the strong growth of local guests. However, only 8 per cent of hotel revenues are booked online and a mere 1 per cent by local Vietnamese, Vntrip.vn said.

Also read:

Gobi Partners cuts first deal in Vietnam, invests $500K in tour startup Triip.me

HotelQuickly in talks to raise Series B funding

Vietnam Airlines to slash state holding to 65%, startups gets $25K each from 1337 Ventures

 

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.