In 2016, Ken Lau, former Head (Partnership & Offline Marketing) at Zalora Malaysia, started Adventoro as a part-time project to help friends and family book their weekend trip. The project turned itself into a business within a short time and soon it bagged partnership with a few adventure operators to enable their business online.
Thankfully, Lau didn’t have to struggle much to raise initial funding for Adventoro due to his huge network and exposure to the startup world. “We were grateful to obtain some traction and funding to start our business full time in 2017,” he tells e27.
Based in Petaling Jaya, Adventoro offers an online platform that helps thrill seekers and travelers from anywhere in the world to discover and book adventure-based tours and activities in Southeast Asia. The platform claims to be curating hundreds of bucket-list worthy trips and experiences, which are offered through packages located in various destinations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
While the tours and activities are categorised into six segments, island, river & watersports and caving & hiking (more outdoor) adventures are getting more traction, he says. Sample activities include white water rafting, snorkelling & diving, mountain hiking, ATV rides, Jetski, etc.
“Our vision is to establish Adventoro as the go-to adventures platform in Southeast Asia in the near future,” according to Lau.
This segment is growing rapidly largely fueled by millennials, who happen to be the largest adult segment at the moment. They are seeking preferential adventures that are Instagram-able. “The timing couldn’t be better to focus on this segment at the moment. One day we aspire to go global,” he says.
Lau, however, hopes that the adventure tours and activities sector would grow into the larger age group segment (for people aged between 36 and 50 years). “We will introduce activities that are less physically demanding such as wildlife tours, introductory hikes, cultural and community-based tourism to cater to this segment,” says Lau.
Listing of activities on the platform is free. Adventoro takes a commission from activities providers on successful booking. “We have significant volume of sales driven by corporate outing. More and more companies are using adventure activities as their team-building excursion,” he reveals.
Although there are quite a number of tours and activities platform around the world, Lau says Adventoro is probably one of its kind in Southeast Asia when it comes to adventure tours and activities.
“At the moment, we are probably the largest platform (supply) of adventure tours and activities in Southeast Asia. If you compare our inventory against other established platforms, our inventory is largely unique. Apart from being adventure-focused, we work directly with operators to ensure competitive pricing and we provide concierge service through various channels (WhatsApp, online chat, email, call),” he claims.
So far, Adventoro has raised two rounds of funding — pre-seed was done by Segnel Ventures and seed funding led by Cradle Seed Ventures. “We are probably looking into our next round 6-12 months from now.”
Lau has close to 20 years of work experience. Before working for Zalora, he has served as Acceleration Director & Mentor-in-Residence for MaGIC and a Management Consultant at Accenture.