INDONESIA-BASED Traveloka, South-east Asia's biggest online travel startup, has raised US$250 million, with the drive having been led by an undisclosed global financial institution. EV Growth and other existing investors also took part in it.
The new capital comes at a critical time as the pandemic brings leisure and business travel almost to a halt. Traveloka said the money will be used to strengthen the company's balance sheet and boost efforts to deepen its offerings in selected priority areas. This includes building a more robust and integrated travel and lifestyle portfolio in key markets, and expanding its financial services solutions to ecosystem partners.
Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the GIC-backed company was in advanced talks to secure about US$250 million at a US$2.75 billion valuation - roughly 17 per cent lower than its last funding round. Traveloka declined to comment then.
Ferry Unardi, the company's co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement on Tuesday: "Without a doubt, Traveloka has been profoundly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have experienced the lowest business rate that we have ever seen since our inception."
But the company is seeing encouraging recovery across all of its key markets. In Vietnam, the business is approaching steady pre-pandemic levels; the Thailand business is on track to surpass 50 per cent of past levels, he noted.
"Indonesia and Malaysia are still in the early stage, but they continue to demonstrate promising momentum with strong week-to-week improvement, especially in accommodation, with the emergence of the shorter-distance staycation behaviour," said Mr Unardi, though acknowledging that the sector may go through further turbulence.
Traveloka has rolled out a number of initiatives to cater to shifting demands. These include flexible buy-now-stay-later hotel vouchers, online experience programmes with top hosts and Traveloka-approved clean accomodations.
Willson Cuaca, managing partner of EV Growth, said: "The travel industry is facing unprecedented times, including Traveloka. The leadership team has taken difficult yet commendable measures, including restructuring and optimisation to minimize financial health risks."