Yanolja Series D investment sees it partner with Agoda

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Yanolja Series D investment sees it partner with Agoda

Hotel-booking platform operator Yanolja raised $180 million in Series D funding from Singapore’s state-owned investment firm GIC and Booking Holdings, the operator of multiple travel reservation sites including Booking.com and Agoda.

In the deal, Yanolja was valued at above $1 billion.

As a result of the investment, Yanolja and Booking Holdings have entered a strategic partnership, sharing accommodation options across both services. This means Yanolja members will gain access to Agoda and other Booking Holdings’ brands that offer travel-related services across more than 230 countries.

Details on the stake the investors got in return for their investment was not disclosed.

Established in 2007, Yanolja has a distinctive history of its own. The company started off and grew as a mobile booking app for motels, selling itself as a way to rebrand the seedy stereotype of cheap motels, or “love motels.”

Today, Yanolja has also become a hotel chain with more than 200 hotels across Korea. Its “smart hotel,” opened in Jeju Island earlier this year, uses technologies like artificial intelligence and Internet of Things in its rooms. Over the years, the booking platform was expanded to also offer leisure activities. The expansion was reflected in Yanolja’s sales, which grew at an annual rate of 70 percent.

“The new funds will be used to further innovate and achieve new grounds in hospitality-related technology to automate hotel operations,” Yanolja said in statement Tuesday.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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