BlackRock, Indonesia join US$300m funding for South-east Asian travel startup


TRAVELOKA has secured US$300 million in new financing from investors including BlackRock, as South-east Asia’s biggest online travel startup counts on a post-Covid rebound to expand in the region. The Jakarta-based company said in a statement on Thursday (Sep 29) it struck a deal for financing with investors including Allianz Global Investors and the Indonesia Investment Authority.

The size of the funding round is significantly larger than the previously discussed target of about US$200 million. Traveloka, backed by investors including GIC and Expedia Group, is considering an initial public offering in the US or in Indonesia, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked to remain anonymous discussing a private matter.

South-east Asia’s tourism industry plunged into crisis during the pandemic when lockdowns all but brought travel to a halt. Traveloka ventured into financial services during the pandemic by partnering with banks including Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Negara Indonesia.

Many countries are now removing pandemic era restrictions and reopening borders. For example, Thailand where international tourism contributes about 12 per cent to gross domestic product has seen a rush of foreign travellers in recent months after scrapping restrictions in July.

Regional startups are raising funds despite worries about a global economic downturn, hoping to position themselves for an eventual rebound. Traveloka helps consumers book a range of services including airline tickets and hotels as well as spas and tourism attractions. It also offers food delivery and financing, payment and insurance products.

Its app has been downloaded more than 100 million times, according to its website. The valuation of the deal is unclear. Traveloka had been valued at US$3 billion, according to CB Insights, but Bloomberg News reported in 2020 that it was seeking funds at a lower valuation.

Current Issue