Velocity Ventures and Korea Tourism Organization sign MoU for Korean Startup Accelerator

Oct 27, 2023 | Media Coverage

Original source:

Tripbtoz is picked as first investment recipient by Velocity Ventures from KTO regional startup accelerator programme

Velocity Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital firm with a special focus on the hospitality and travel sector in Southeast Asia, has entered into a strategic partnership with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO). The firm invests in entrepreneurs who are passionate about reshaping the hospitality and travel sector, with a focus on early to growth stage tech-enabled companies across five verticals: Travel Services, Transportation, Accommodation, Food & Beverage, and Experiences.

This collaboration with KTO aims to support companies associated with the Korea Tourism Startup Center (KTSC) in Singapore as they expand their presence across Southeast Asia. 

The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Kim Young Hee, Director of KTO Singapore, and Patrick Imbardelli, Founder and Chairman of Velocity Ventures, preceded the VC’s announcement of its first investment in a Korean tourism startup: Tripbtoz, a Web3-based Online Travel Agency (OTA). 

Tripbtoz integrates community and commerce functionalities with user-generated short-forms, catering to a market that increasingly leans toward video content. The company’s travel video ecosystem aggregates user-generated content (UGC) video reviews of hotels and tourist attractions, all of which are created by travellers. 

The platform also rewards users with loyalty currency and discount coupons when they make bookings through referral links. To date, Tripbtoz has collected over 500,000 UGCs, allowing hoteliers and other travel destinations to utilize these resources as part of their marketing efforts. Founded in 2017 by CEO Jiha Jung, Tripbtoz eventually introduced the “T2E (Travel 2 Earn)” service to connect travel experiences between users and allows them to travel again by offering rewards for engagement from other users.

Tripbtoz received ‘The Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Award’ at the 2020 Challenge K-Startup in November 2020 and the ‘Prime Minister’s Commendation’ at the ’49th Tourism Day Ceremony’ in 2022.

Kim Young Hee, Director of Korea Tourism Organization Singapore, expressed the significance of Singapore as a regional launchpad for Korean tourism startups. He emphasized the guidance provided by Velocity Ventures in supporting emerging Korean tourism startups collaborating with the Korea Tourism Startup Center (KTSC) in Singapore as they seek to broaden their footprint across Southeast Asia.

Jiha Jung, CEO and Founder of Tripbtoz, shared their future plans: “With a major mobile app redesign scheduled for later this year, we plan to fully localize our sales and marketing through the establishment of an entity to oversee the Southeast Asia market. We have direct contracts with 3,000 hotels in South Korea and Japan, and our next stage of growth is to expand our reach and help hotels in Southeast Asia engage with our user communities. Travellers can use Tripbtoz at every stage of their travel: from travel inspiration to reviews or to upload memories. Tripbtoz unlocks the power of community and commerce with our UGC video content ecosystem. We are confident that social content travel storytelling will be how Generation 2030 travelers ‘play, share, stay’.”

Nicholas Cocks, Managing Partner at Velocity Ventures, emphasised the importance of investing in the flourishing tech startup ecosystem within Southeast Asia’s travel industry. “By supporting these dynamic  Korean tourism startups spearheading technological advancements here in Southeast Asia, we hope that they can help solve the biggest pain points in the industry. Embracing change isn’t just a choice; it’s the path to shaping the future of travel.”

Since its inception in 2020, more than 90 Korean startups have participated in KTO’s Tourism Startup Global Challenge Programme, an initiative designed to empower Korean tourism startups to venture into overseas markets, receive grants, and gain industry support to access business partners.

Velocity Ventures played a big role in the selection process of the 2023 winners of the StartUp Global Challenge Programme, providing winners with access to a support ecosystem at the Korea Tourism Startup Center in Singapore. As an affiliate partner, Velocity Ventures also mentors Korean tourism startups in the program.