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THE INVESTOR
December 09, 2019
Big Reunion

Startups & Investors

Yanolja becomes largest shareholder of Southeast Asian budget hotel chain

  • PUBLISHED :October 23, 2019 - 15:48
  • UPDATED :October 23, 2019 - 15:48
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South Korean unicorn Yanolja said Oct. 23 that it has become the largest shareholder of ZEN Rooms, a leading budget hotel operator in Southeast Asia. 

The latest investment came after the Seoul-headquartered accommodation-booking firm invested $15 million in the Southeast Asian budget hotel firm in July last year. 

The exact amount has not been announced, but venture capital Access Ventures, which includes investors from Vietnam, joined the latest funding round.


Yanolja CEO Kim Jong-yoon.



“Since the first investment in ZEN Rooms, we have shared the same vision of operational excellence through fully integrated hotel automation solutions to fundamentally digitize the Southeast Asian hospitality market,” said Kim Jong-yoon, the CEO in charge of online business at Yanolja.

Since the investment last year, the Southeast Asian startup has grown more than 400 percent, cementing its lead in the budget hotel reservation industry in the region. Established in 2015, the Southeast Asian startup operates businesses in four nations -- Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore -- running 10,000 hotel rooms there. Nearly half the rooms, about 4,500, are in the Philippines, a popular tourist destination in the Asian market.

Founded in 2005 as a motel-booking service platform, the Korean company has reached unicorn status with its market value surpassing 1 trillion won ($851 million) in Korea. It has more than 10 million subscribers for its core services, including accommodation booking and leisure activity reservations.

In June, the firm raised $180 million from Singapore wealth fund GIC and Booking Holdings, which owns hotel-booking service Agoda.

“I believe ZEN Rooms, based on the investment, will be able to build a firm position as the largest full-stack hospitality company in the Southeast Asia. We will apply Yanolja’s fully integrated automated solution to our hotel operations to provide the best-quality services to travelers,” said Nathan Boublil, co-founder and managing director of ZEN Rooms.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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