Klook, a Hong Kong-based company that sells travel activities across Asia, has announced a $5 million Series A round led by US-Sino investment fund Matrix Partners. China Growth Capital and Francis Leung, chairman of CVC Capital, also took part.
The company was founded in September 2014 with the idea of helping travelers and tourists find things to do across Asia. Klook raised a $1.5 million seed round in April, and co-founder Eric Gnock Fah told TechCrunch that this round was over-subscribed thanks to impressive growth.
Klook currently includes more than 1,200 activities across 24 destinations in Asia, that’s up from around 1,000 earlier this year. The company claims to have grown its userbase — which it counts as the total reach for its website, mobile apps, WeChat and other touch points — from 200,000 to 500,000 over the same period. It didn’t say how many bookings or customers it has, but that it “serves thousands of travelers a day.”
To offer activities at lower prices than traditional travel firms or tour operators, Klook works directly with attraction managers and owners. That way, it doesn’t involve agents or other aggregators who, once adding in their commission, push prices up for travelers.
Fah said that Greater China accounts for around one-third of its user base, with Southeast Asia also around the same figure. While Asia is a popular destination for tourists worldwide, Klook is particularly focused on unlocking the potential of Asian travelers.
“We’re a pan-Asia platform that serves both Asian destinations and Asian travelers,” he explained to TechCrunch in an interview. “The rising middle class in Asia make lots of inter-regional travel.”
This new funding will go towards growing the destinations and activities on the Klook platform, and further developing its technology. The company also plans to begin spending money on marketing, having relied on partnership deals and word-of-mouth for visibility thus far. Part of that focus will see it open an office in Singapore to increase its focus on Southeast Asia. Klook may also expand its physical presence into other local markets further down the line, Fah said.
The startup is also welcoming a pair of new strategy advisors who could help open doors. Wilfred Fan is managing director of Agoda and head of its business operations in North Asia, while Shuren Hu is a former vice chairman of the planning and financial department of the China National Tourism Administration.
If you’re wondering which cities are hot in Asia — Fah said Hong Kong is Klook’s top choice for visitors, followed by Singapore and Bangkok. You can see what they have on offer at Klook.com, or via its Android and iOS apps.