Traveloka Raises $500m to Develop AI, Machine Learning

BY :TABITA DIELA

AUGUST 01, 2017

Pekanbaru, Riau. Indonesian online travel company Traveloka has raised $500 million in two rounds of funding to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning to expand its services worldwide.

American travel company Expedia contributed $350 million this year, following last year's $150 million from global venture capital fund East Ventures, Beijing-based equities investment firm Hillhouse Capital Group, China's JD.com and American venture capital Sequoia Capital.

"We look forward to working with Expedia to expand our services in Asia and beyond," Traveloka co-founder and chief executive Ferry Unardi said in a statement on Monday (31/07).

Traveloka said one of its main goals is to improve services to match customer preferences by leveraging big data.

In the statement, the company said it will develop research and development projects using artificial intelligence and machine learning to study customer behaviors in different countries.

It will also study localized payment methods and services in the local language.

According to Ferry, the partnership with Expedia will give Traveloka's customers more accommodation options all over the world.

"Partnering with the world's leading online travel company will allow us to focus on our continued growth in the online travel space... [and to] provide the best travel options and the highest quality booking experience," Ferry said.

In a separate statement on Thursday, Expedia said its investment in Traveloka is part of its strategy to strengthen the partnership between the two companies to supply hotel rooms to travelers worldwide.

"Traveloka is clearly the online travel leader in Indonesia, and is expanding aggressively throughout Southeast Asia," Expedia's president and chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said.

The latest funding round followed last month's acquisition of Tiket.com, Traveloka's competitor, in a non-disclosed deal by Global Digital Niaga, the company behind online marketplace Blibli.com.

Blibli.com, backed by Indonesian cigarette giant Djarum, will now provide support for Tiket.com in sales, promotions and human resources.

Indonesian startup companies have been attracting the attention of foreign investors, thanks to promising growth prospects in the country's economy.

Earlier, ride hailing application Go-Jek raised $1 billion from Tencent, while competitor Grab raised $2 billion from Didi Chuxing and SoftBank.

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