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Startup Klook gets $425M in funding to shake up the travel industry

Startup Klook gets $425M in funding to shake up the travel industry
[Photo: Benjamin Davies/Unsplash]

Mobile-first travel startup Klook wants to make sure tourists have a really good trip—and now SoftBank’s Vision Fund wants to help.

Klook, which lets tourists book tours and activities with the push of a button, just announced it has raised $425 million, including $225 million in a new Series D+ funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, with new contributions from existing investors, including Sequoia China, Matrix Partners, TCV, and OurCrowd. While Series D funding rounds aren’t typically the most exciting news, this one is worth noting because it represents the largest financing in the global travel activities and services industry.

The new funding will help Klook expand its roster of tours and activities to new places and spaces and continue to expand in its existing Asian markets. The growth is perfectly timed to help Klook carve out an even bigger niche in the Japanese tourist market in advance of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where an estimated 40 million smartphone-wielding visitors will descend upon the city hungry for tours and fun.

Like with almost every other market, mobile-first companies are taking over the travel industry. Tourists booked so many tours and travel activities via their mobile devices that in 2018 trip bookings on mobile devices tripled. Bookings on mobile devices accounted for more than 75% of total bookings, according to Klook.

That rapid growth leads Klook to believe it will see triple-digit growth in bookings. It’s no wonder that SoftBank came calling, as it likes to get in on the ground floor with companies that emerge as potential leaders in their respective categories. In that regard, Klook sure looks like a good bet.

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