When you meet 40 something Ken Lau, the solo founder at Adventoro, chances are you won’t find him really that old as he pretends to be.
Founded in November 2016, Ken heads perhaps one of the most exciting adventure travel startups in Malaysia. Ken is a fairly connected entrepreneur thanks to his varied stints across different organizations. He worked for Accenture in late 2009 before making a hard to switch to start a restaurant for a couple of years which was eventually sold-off.
In addition, he was amongst the earliest employees at Zalora Malaysia and was the first employee of MySale.my, a listed company where he worked for over 1.5 years and handled operations for 4 countries Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore.
Back in 2015, he had an opportunity to work with startup accelerator MAGIC, his role there was more into consulting as an Acceleration Director. He was the mentor in residence, responsible for accelerating startups and was in touch with 200+ startups from Malaysia. He also had a stint with 123RF, the popular image website where he was responsible for steering new projects.
In simple words, Adventoro is a platform for adventure tourism. The startup works with tour operators who are not associated with large tours & activities websites. Adventoro focussed a lot on outdoor tourism, managed by professional guides – Island, Caving, Diving, River rafting etc. The USP of the company is inventory which is 80% unique. In total, they cater to 1400 unique experiences across 6 countries. Adventoro also has 200+ service providers out of which 100+ are from overseas.
The core team includes 5-6 employees of which 3-4 are full time members. Primarily, their target market is expatriates within SEA and the domestic group which is via the corporate layer.
Late last year, Adventoro raised about 200,000 + USD from Cradle/Azran Osman-Rani who is an an angel investor and Ching from iMoney.
The team has been fairly lean so far and has one core tech guy who is helping them to migrate from Shopify to proprietary platform. In addition, they also receive tech support from SEGNEL. The growth focus of Adventoro has been towards performance Marketing as the company spends a lot of on adwords. 50% of customers discover them via Google Ads followed by Facebook/Affiliates and organic SEO.
In a short span of time, Adventoro’s white paper on inclusive tourism was selected for World Tourism Forum as a startup for the finalist category. The aim of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne is to connect start-ups with the tourism, travel and hospitality industry – online and offline. On top of it, Adventoro was also selected for Alibaba Netpreneur Training program which provides selected local Malaysian entrepreneurs and business owners an opportunity to learn and explore how to harness digital technology to positively transform their businesses and the local economy. As a part of this program, Adventoro had an opportunity to be at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China. More recently, Adventoro was one of the selected finalist startups in WIT Japan.
As they say, the journey of adventure travel has just got under way for Adventoro. There’s more to come!