South Korean accommodation booking platform company Yanolja has earned unicorn status with its value surpassing $1 billion after raising a combined $180 million from US travel service provider Booking Holdings and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Yanolja said the new funds will be used to build hospitality-related technology to speed up its global expansion.
Yanolja CEO Lee Soo-jin
The company said it has also formed a strategic partnership with Booking Holdings, which operates leading online travel services, such as Booking.com and Agoda.com.
Agoda’s customers will be able to utilize Yanolja’s booking services for budget accommodations in Korea, and Yanolja customers will be able to book accommodations available on Agoda’s platform, according to the Korean startup.
Established in 2005 as an online community for employees in the budget motel sector, it later gained momentum with motel booking services. Having diversifying its business models since then, including booking services for leisure activities and boutique hotels, the company has been trying to expand its operations in other regions, including Europe, and Asia. It has also hired talents from global firms, including Tesla, McKinsey and Google.
Yanolja, one of Korea’s eight unicorns operates its own hotel brands while providing design and construction services for other accommodation businesses.
The companies that have joined the unicorn club in Korea include Coupang, Krafton, Yello Mobile, L&P Cosmetics, Wemakeprice, Woowa Brothers and Viva Republica.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)