Yanolja, a South Korean travel technology company, has realized its ambition to enter the African market by investing in Kenya’s HotelOnline.
This is not only their first investment on the continent, but also a Korean corporation’s first investment in the travel technology market in recent years, clearing the path for other Korean corporations to study the continent’s possibilities.
“This is a game-changing moment for HotelOnline. With our operations back in break-even after the Covid crisis, this investment puts us in a unique position to scale and expand aggressively, strengthen our position in current markets, and expand our operations into more target countries.
“Backed by this investment, we can seize more of the present opportunities to drive the transformation of travel and hospitality in Africa. Our partner hotels are already surfing on the recovery waves,” co-founder and CEO Endre Opdal of Yanolja said in a statement.
The purchase of HotelOnline shares for an undisclosed sum allows the Asian travel company to expand its operations in Africa and use its travel-related SaaS (Space as a Service) technology.
This investment comes from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, one of the world’s largest technology-focused investment firms, which gave the Korean startup $1.7 billion last year.
Yanolja, which is supported by Booking.com, the world’s largest travel firm, is set to go public on the NASDAQ in 2023.
Yanolja Cloud CEO Jongyoon Kim has been vocal about the significance of working with a significant African travel firm, and it appears that the effort has paid off.
“We decided on this investment, considering the synergy of two companies proved from the previous partnership with HotelOnline, the African hospitality leading company,” he said.
“As an AI-based SaaS company that offers the solutions for the spaces, we won’t stop cooperating for the digital transformation of African space (spatial) business including hospitality through marketing-leading AI and cloud technology.”
HotelOnline, which was created in 2014, is Africa’s leading e-commerce and digital marketing platform for hotels, as well as a driving force behind the continent’s digital revolution.
The company has helped over 5,000 hotels in 27 African countries increase revenue through a combination of digital marketing, distribution, and simple digitization of basic operations.
Yanolja Cloud opted to invest in HotelOnline to accelerate the expansion of its worldwide solution business for spaces in Africa, according to co-founder Havar Bauck.
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