What Yanolja Intends To Do With Its New Billion Dollar Funding
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Tuesday, 27th July 2021

No plans for consumer superapp outside South Korea, focus is on building next-gen travel platform 'beyond OTA', says CEO Jongyoon Kim.

WHEN news broke of SoftBank Vision Fund’s US$1.7b investment in Yanolja last week staff of the South Korean travel unicorn were working from home due to tightened restrictions in Seoul, thus there was no big party to celebrate in the office but internal work chats erupted in joy.

“There was nobody in the building,” said CEO of Yanolja and Yanolja Cloud, Kim Jongyoon, “so we could not feel the celebration in person. But on Slack and internal chats, many employees expressed their happiness. They know they can expect growth from now on.

“I also announced the reason for the investment – that we were building a global tech platform and it was the global expansion plans that excited many employees. Everyone wants to go outside Korea.”

Jongyoon Kim: “We do not want to be an OTA, there is no added value to the industry. To add value, we want to build a platform that will transform the travel and hospitality industry.”

He also announced to staff that Yanolja would add 300 more people to the tech team in South Korea, set up another R&D centre in Asia, in addition to the two it has in Vietnam and India, and recruit another 100 people in the region.

Currently, of the 1,600 staff, 40% are in tech. Within the next couple of years, Jongyoon expects the ratio to go to 70% as Yanolja ramps up its tech.

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