VC Deals: Booking Leads $180M Round For Korean Partner

by: VCDeals

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Booking Holdings (NASDAQ:BKNG) and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC co-led a $180M Series D for Korean hotel booking startup Yanolja, which now has a valuation of over $1B. The startup is most famous for refurbishing love hotels from seedy dives to popular rentals for travelers.

The app-booking service has over 200 hotels in Korea and expanded overseas. The company says revenue has grown at an annual rate of over 70% for the past five years. Yanolja invested in Rocket Internet-backed budget hotel network Zen Rooms and has now partnered with Booking’s Agoda platform to cross-promote listings.

Yanolja’s next project is architecting a smart hotel utilizing AI and IoT technology. Earlier this year, the startup announced a smart hotel collaboration with Korea Telecom on Jeju Island.

The Series D funds will be funneled into hospitality-related tech investments, including automation and value chain connectivity, accelerating digitalization, and global expansion. Yanolja is also eyeing an IPO with CEO Kim Jong-yoon telling Reuters that 2022 is the rough timeline for the listing.

Other top deals of the week:

  • Exit: GE (NYSE:GE) Ventures wants a buyer for its investment portfolio as the parent company works on a multiyear turnaround. CNBC says the venture arm has been shopping itself for several months and held talks with other VC firms and a group of limited partners. Founded in 2013, GE Ventures has invested in hundreds of startups, including current holdings Evidation Health and AR software company Upskill.
  • SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF,OTCPK:SFTBY) led a $300M round for Brazilian fitness startup Gympass, pushing the valuation into unicorn territory. SoftBank’s investment was split between its Vision Fund and newer Latin America fund. Gympass provides more than 2,000 companies with monthly gym passes to its network of 47K gyms in 14 countries. The company moved its HQ to New York last year.
  • Goldman Sachs-backed (NYSE:GS) Symphony Communications raised $165M in a funding round that brought in new investors Mitsubishi UFJ Financial’s venture fund and Standard Chartered. Founded in 2014 by financial institutions wanting to reduce the costs of market data and staff-customer communications, Symphony will use the funding to grow the workflow automation business, increase its presence in Asia, and M&A. The Slack (NYSE:WORK) competitor expects to be profitable in the next two to three years.
  • Intel Capital (NASDAQ:INTC) participated in a $50M Series D for cybersecurity risk-monitoring and rating platform SecurityScorecard. Riverwood Capital led with participation from Evolution Equity, Two Sigma, Axa Ventures, and Accomplice were among the other participants. The funding will help with SecurityScorecard’s global expansion and meeting the “spiking demand” for its scoring platform.
  • M12 (NASDAQ:MSFT) led a $25M funding for API marketplace RapidAPI. DNS Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Green Bay Capital also participated. Since March 2018, the startup has grown the number of APIs in its public marketplace from 8K to 10K and doubled the number of developers using the platform to a total of 1M. RapidAI will use the funding to continue scaling that marketplace.

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