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KKday will use the fresh capital to fuel its international expansion and add more functionalities to its new booking management platform Rezio
Taiwan-based travel tech startup KKday has secured US$75 million in its Series C funding round led by Japan’s State-backed Cool Japan Fund and Taiwan’s National Development Fund, it announced in a statement today.
The round also saw participation from existing investors Monk’s Hill Ventures and MindWorks Capital, the statement noted.
Cool Japan Fund had previously entered into a partnership with KKday and invested $10 million in the startup to develop off-the-grid vacation activities in August last year.
KKday will utilize the fresh funds to continue its global expansion and to futher develop its new platform Rezio, an all-in-one booking management platform for travel operators and activity providers, which the startup claims is the first of its kind.
“KKday’s closing of this round during a pandemic is a testament of the team’s ability to overcome insurmountable problems. With this funding round and talented leadership, KKday will be in pole position when the travel industry recuperates,” MindWorks Capital Co-founder and Managing Partner David Chang said.
Unlike established travel tech companies like Expedia that dominate air travel and accommodation, KKday specializes in connecting travelers with authentic local tours and activities. It provides users with seamless access to endless lifestyle experiences, from local theme parks and top restaurants to staycations and multi-day hiking trips.
Founded in 2014, the startup now offers vacation packages in over 550 cities across 92 destination countries, and has served over five million customers to date, the statement noted. To support tour operators and activity providers amidst the global pandemic, KKday began piloting Rezio in Japan and Taiwan in March this year, it added.
The company’s web and mobile platform offers a suite of services including a simple setup for an online store, real-time inventory management across different booking channels, customized vouchers for various booking scenarios, and integration with local payment gateways, the statement noted.
KKday claims that its new platform can reduce operational costs and increase efficiency for travel experience providers. Rezio has been adopted by over 300 travel service providers, from small scale travel and activity providers to large scale operators like H.I.S. Co Ltd, an international travel agency based out of Japan, and has served over 150,000 customers to date.
“Rezio, we believe, will offer long-term value to travel operators, activity providers, and most importantly, their end users – travelers. We are excited to continue expanding into new markets and to innovate new products and services with a traveler-focused mindset,” KKday Founder and CEO Chen Ming-ming said.
The startup plans to add more functionalities to Rezio and expand its team and operations in Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, the statement noted.
“KKday’s strong execution and innovative mindset will drive the tourism industry in Japan even under adverse conditions,” according to Cool Japan Fund Managing Director Kazushi Sano. “KKday is uniquely positioned to be a market leader by Ming and his team’s long-term vision and unparalleled experience in the travel industry.”
He added, “We expect that [KKday’s leadership team] will leverage a wealth of experience in digitalizing the tourism industry and tap into the rise of independent travelling both in Japan and globally.”
The travel and tourism industry, which outpaced the growth of the global economy for nine successive years, has been hit the hardest by the global pandemic that shuttered borders and triggered movement restrictions as governments raced and fumbled to curb the spread of the virus.
According to a report by The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), COVID-19 could lead to the loss of over $1 trillion in GDP and more than 63 million jobs in the travel and tourism sector in Asia alone.
However, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures Kuo-Yi Lim has expressed optimism about the future, and expects traveler demand to soon bounce back to pre-COVID levels as leisure travel opens up again.
“We have high conviction in KKday’s leadership team and believe the company is primed to seize the immense opportunity ahead of us,” he added.
Header image courtesy of KKday