Travel activity booking platform Klook has picked up $225 million in additional funding. The Softbank Vision Fund led the Series D+ round, which also included participation from Sequoia Capital China, Matrix Partners, TCV, and OurCrowd.
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Founded in 2014, Klook has raised $521.5 million in total known funding, per Crunchbase. Take a look:
When the company raised last August, it emphasized that it was planning to double down on its presence in the U.S. and Europe. Klook said it has partnered with Rail Europe to further expand in the region. Currently, the company connects its customers with activities in Paris, London, and New York, per its website. The company told Crunchbase News that it has “activities and experiences in more than 10 of the most popular cities/markets,” in the U.S.
With Japan-based Softbank as an investor, Klook said it plans to leverage local connections and “deepen its investments” in the country in preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Elsewhere in Asia, Klook has inked partnerships with hospitality groups like Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, hoping to attract more interest to the platform.
The company, which emphasizes its mobile-first strategy, reported that mobile transactions accounted for over 75 percent of its total bookings, and, according to its press release, it’s expecting “triple-digit growth” in that overall metric.
Of course, Klook isn’t the only company looking to capitalize on the activity bookings space. Tech unicorn and IPO hopeful Airbnb first began dipping its toes in the space in 2014. In 2016, the company launched Airbnb Experiences with the goal of becoming an end-to-end travel app, and in February, announced that it’s doubling down on Experiences; TripAdvisor, which was acquired by Expedia back in 2005, also offers activity booking; and Booking Holdings, the owner of Booking.com, OpenTable, and Kayak, acquired an activities booking platform called FareHarbor in April 2018.
Notably, Booking Holdings has also invested in China-based Didi Chuxing and Meituan Dianping, and Singapore-based Grab. All three Asia-based companies along with Indonesia-based GoJek are aiming to become the next big super app, incorporating travel, payments, and other conveniences into their mobile platforms. Klook is aware of those goals, and with $225 million from one of today’s most prolific global investors, it may be able to edge out a space in that ecosystem. In fact, the company has been working with We Chat to help travelers book through the app since 2016, Klook Chief Revenue Officer Anita Ngai told Crunchbase News in an email.
Ngai also told Crunchbase News over that one of the things that differentiates Klook from the rest of the pack is that it is a “full-service, in-destination booking platform,” that relies on mobile first technology and allows people to book activities instantly. Ngai also emphasized that the company’s dedication to localization has given it an advantage.
“Our strategy of “localize beyond language” highlights our commitment to providing local user experiences, including currency, preferred payment method, etc.,” said Ngai. “We believe such playbook will also be effective as we expand in our Western markets, especially Europe.”
Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias
This article has been updated with information provided by the company over email.
Editorial Update: A previous version of this article said that previous reports stated the company may have been valued at $1 billion. It has since been updated to reflect that the company did not previously release specific valuation information, but that it was more than $1 billion.
Update: The company’s total funding has been updated to reflect that it has raised $521.5 million, not billion.
A previous version of the article mentioned that Boyu Capital and Sequoia China led the round. The company never specified lead investors for it’s Series D. ↩