Startup pitch: Adventoro taps into adventure niche in Southeast Asia

The tours and adventures startup space attracted a great deal of attention in 2017 in terms of investment, some merger and acquisition activity and the growth of existing players. It continues to attract many startups with different takes on how the challenges of the sector might be solved whether it be from a geographic perspective or a niche segment of tours and activities.

Enter Adventoro, a startup based in Malaysia which launched in late 2017. Here’s its pitch clip:

Q&A with founder Ken Lau

What problem does your business solve?

Adventoro is an online platform that focuses on adventure-based tours and activities.

For tour/travel agents and operators, we provide them with a platform to get online and market their tours and activities online to a global market.

Also, finding and booking adventure-based tours in Malaysia and around Southeast Asia online can be difficult. I have personally experienced difficulty discovering adventure tours online in places around Southeast Asia. I have had a similar issue in Malaysia as well. Some booking processes took a long time to complete because the agents or operators were using methods such as email.

So, I have founded Adventoro to make it easy for people to discover and purchase a wide selection of adventure tours offered at competitive pricing, all on a single platform. In addition, these customers can also take advantage of a concierge service that is meant to help them with their questions or for any special request they may have for their trips.

Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?

I am the sole founder of Adventoro. We currently have five full-time paid staff. We are looking to expand our team in-line with business expansion plans to include Southeast Asia as early as in the first quarter of 2018.

Funding arrangements?

Adventoro successfully raised a pre-seed round of funding in early 2017 from Singapore-based Segnel Ventures. The amount is undisclosed.

The funding has been extremely important for us to come up with an MVP in April this year and to work on building the platform.

Revenue model?

Adventoro is running on a commission-based revenue model by our sales value.

Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?

Our core target market is inbound travelers to Malaysia. We know at least 50% of travelers pre-book their tours and activities, especially due to the limited spots in some tours such as hiking the highest mountain in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu in the state of Sabah. Adventoro is a platform that makes it easy for them to:

  • Discover a huge variety of adventure options
  • Evaluate with enough information for them to decide
  • Inquire through Adventoro’s Concierge Service platform
  • Book through our easy-to-use platform.

What we’ve noticed is that current existing and similar platforms are lacking at least one of the above.

On our listings, among the many suppliers who provide a particular tour, we only work with one for each tour group. This means we do both online validation such as reviews and we do visit them and randomly engage in or experience their tours to ensure it is of good quality within its price point.

External validation?

We are incubated (venture-building) by Segnel Ventures and Ken Lau is the mentor-in-residence of Malaysian Global Innovative and Creativity Centre’s Global Acceleration Program. The startup also has mentoring from an ex-president of the Malaysia Association of Tour & Travel Agents and has secured partnerships with GOASEAN and mobile-company Maxis.

In addition, the company has signed up close to 50 tour agents and operators while the number of tours and activities is also growing. Currently, we have more than 500 tours and activities on our platform. With this number, we are already one of the biggest in Malaysia at the moment.

tnooz view:

Here’s what we know about tours and activities. It’s a fragmented market with lots of small suppliers and a low level of technological sophistication.

Mobile is represents a big opportunity for the segment especially in Asia where the trend is to book tours in advance and via mobile.

It’s attracting a lot of investment – Klook received $30 million in early 2017 and GetYourGuide raised $75 million in November 2017.

Also on the plus side, gross bookings in the market are expected to hit $27 billion by 2020, up from $12 billion in 2015, according to Phocuswright.

Add to this the 200 startups that have launched since 2003 in tours and activities and you’ve got a competitive market with numerous challenges that no one has cracked yet.

Adventoro has a number of things going for it. It’s going after Asia, inbound travellers and it’s looking to tap into the adventure niche. Its concierge service should also help customers make those important purchase decisions.

The challenges, as outlined above, will be getting suppliers on board and attracting consumers to the site which will require marketing dollars or some clever mechanism.

But these are exciting times for tours and activities players – technology is improving, airlines and other players are looking to partner for distribution and some of the big OTA names, as well as the likes of Google, already have skin in the game.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.



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  1. Joen

    I have a feeling 🙂 that surprisingly few of the 200+ startups in the sector since 2003 have had a geographical niche, which might be a strong move. However, the traditional problem with once-off customers will make it difficult to monetise marketing. Would be nice to know what kind of distribution partnerships Adventoro is aiming for!

    • Ken Lau

      Hi Joen, Sorry for the late comment. Just came across this while I was reading the post again. Adventoro works on B2B2C model. Our focus is on adventure tourism in Southeast Asia. This means a large percentage of our tours and activities are unique even to our distribution partners.

      Our mission is to also to promote adventure tourism to interested travellers around the globe. We are open to strategic partnerships, as long as they offer a unique set of consumers. Cheers.


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