HotelQuickly, a startup that connects travelers in need of a room with hotels that are in a pinch to put heads in beds, announced today it raised US$4.5 million from a round led by Japan’s Gree. William Heinecke, CEO of Minor International, a large hotel and resort conglomerate based in Southeast Asia, also contributed to the funding as an angel investor.
The round comes nine months after HotelQuickly completed a previous round of US$1.1 million from a group of angel investors.
HotelQuickly COO & CMO Christian Mischler tells Tech in Asia that the company will use the money to ramp up its staffing in Australia. The company currently operates in 12 markets, with employees spread across Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Jakarta. “These are all expensive countries, so it will cost quite a bit to have teams on the ground there. But we think’t important to do that if we want to scale up quickly,” says Mischler, in a conversation with Tech in Asia.
Continued support for HotelQuickly shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Hotel Tonight, the company’s Silicon Valley analog, has raised over US$80 million in funding to date, and IDG Ventures sunk US$2.8 million in Singapore-based competitor In2Nite back in April.
What’s worth watching here is HotelQuickly’s relationship with Gree, the Tokyo-based firm leading the round. Domestically, Gree built its legacy through desktop and dumbphone games, but has recently expanded into new verticals. Last month it launched Tonight, an app that offers the same service as HotelQuickly but for Japan only. It’s also invested a fair amount of money in Southeast Asian startups through its Gree Ventures arm, and announced a new US$50 million fund for Asian internet companies last May.
The latest funding round for HotelQuickly comes from Gree Inc (the parent company), not Gree Ventures, and the distinction might matter. Mischler says that the two companies will work together closely to help Gree develop its Tonight app.
“They didn’t want to roll out their application in Southeast Asia because they didn’t know the market that well,” Mischler tells Tech in Asia. “But I think in cooperation with us, we can contribute to the success of their app in Japan, and they can leverage their knowledge of mobile and product development. I think we’re going to have quite an intense collaboration, not just on a staff level but also on a management level. There will be more coming up.”Editing by Terence Lee