Klook turning profitable is good news. And the travel startup’s failure to get additional follow-on funding from troubled backer Softbank is unsurprising. Klook has made great strides, but it must someday find an exit for its early investors.
Klook, an online travel agency for tours and activities, transport, and travel services, said it had raised $210 million (about $290 Singaporean dollars) in capital with a mix of venture equity and bank financing.
Bessemer Venture Partners led the equity portion, whose amount wasn’t specified. BPEA EQT, Atinum Investment, and Golden Vision Capital, and other corporate investment arms also took equity stakes. The rest of the financing included bank facilities.
The Hong Kong-based startup has now raised more than $900 million in financing since its founding in 2014. It vies with Berlin-based GetYourGuide as the most heavily funded startup in the travel experiences category.
Softbank, which supported Klook in recent rounds, didn’t participate in this one. GetYourGuide has also received substantial investments from Softbank.
Klook is considering going public either in the US or in Hong Kong, a co-founder told Bloomberg.
Klook Turns Profitable
Klook said it became cash flow positive earlier this year for the first time and that it currently has an annualized gross booking value of $3 billion. It drew twice as many new customers this year than in 2019, suggesting its name recognition is growing.
Klook no longer generates its revenue from classic same-day tour products, such as guided walking tours. It has, in recent years, branched into other products, such as offering selected Japanese high-speed train tickets or services like portable Wi-Fi.
That makes the company more relevant to what customers in the Asia Pacific market appear to want, and also makes it stand apart from GetYourGuide and Tripadvisor’s Viator, which focus mostly on selling classic tours, activities, and attractions.
Klook is also more mobile-first than its Western rivals. It said about 80% of its bookings are made through smartphones.
The startup saw revenue per employee triple since 2019. It plans to invest heavily in sales of city passes, influencer-based marketing, and artificial intelligence tools.