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Yanolja raises $180M funding from GIC and Booking Holdings

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Yanolja, the largest online travel platform in South Korea, raised $180 million in Series D funding from GIC and Booking Holdings, bringing its current valuation to more than $1 billion.

Alongside its investment, Yanolja and Booking Holdings have entered into a strategic partnership and commercial agreement. With the partnership, Booking Holdings’ brand Agoda will have the ability to offer its customers Yanolja’s unique hotel accommodations in South Korea, and Yanolja customers will be able to book accommodations across the globe powered by Agoda and other Booking Holdings’ brands.

Yanolja is the market leader in Korea’s accommodation and leisure industry, given the company’s acute understanding and use of cutting-edge digital technologies, and global expansion plans. In particular, the company has demonstrated accelerating sales growth at an annual rate of more than 70% over the past five years.

Yanolja quickly gained ground as the largest online travel platform in Korea surpassing $100 million in monthly transactions for the first time in the industry. Yanolja has continued to show the value of its online booking platform for its customers with 20 million accumulated reservations for accommodation and leisure activity booking.

In addition, Yanolja is one of the largest hotel chains in Korea with more than 200 hotels which include some of the strongest and most recognized franchise hotel brands across the country. Outside of Korea, Yanolja has invested in Southeast Asia’s No. 1 hotel chain, ZENRooms, which has more than 1000 hotels across the region, strategically positioning itself for its global hotel franchise business.

Furthermore, Yanolja has developed the leading cloud-based property management system in Korea, supporting all kinds of accommodation types, helping the owners save operational costs, increase bookings, and ultimately boosting revenue. Based on its technological know-how and operational experience, Yanolja is architecting a smart hotel that utilizes key technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT). Earlier this year, Yanolja in collaboration with Korea Telecom, introduced the smart hotel concept in Jeju Island, which is expected to enhance the hotel’s overall performance contributing mainly from two perspectives: (i) cost efficiency and (ii) customer satisfaction.

The new funds will be used to further innovate and achieve new grounds in hospitality-related technology to automate hotel operations and achieve more pervasive connectivity across the value chain. A portion of the newly raised funds will also be deployed to accelerate digitalization and achieve growth potential in the global travel and leisure market, going beyond the traditional travel sphere.

 

SOURCE Yanolja

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RBC and Microsoft Launch New Program to Accelerate the Digital Transformation of Canadian Businesses

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To help Canadian businesses unlock greater business value and capitalize on advancements in smart technologies and cloud solutions, RBC and Microsoft today announced the launch of RBC’s Go Digital program. The program is designed to remove key barriers which businesses have cited as preventing or delaying their digital transformation. Go Digital offers a suite of turnkey technology solutions leveraging the power and security of the Microsoft cloud and skilled Partner Network, as well as innovation financing and tailored advice from RBC to help businesses embark on their digital transformation journey with greater ease and confidence. The program is currently available to Canadian food manufacturers and will continue to expand to other industries over time.

A recent IDC report found that while Canadian executives acknowledge the importance of embracing new technologies to digitally transform their business, the majority have yet to take action. A similar report found that 29 per cent of Canadian organizations are lagging in digital transformation and have not yet started their digital modernization. The most common barriers identified by Canadian companies include the challenge of finding the right solution, sourcing the right provider and securing capital.

“Technology is disrupting customer expectations and traditional business models everywhere, and businesses need to adapt to these historic changes to differentiate and lead in the market,” said Greg Grice, Executive Vice-President, Business Financial Services, RBC. “RBC is committed to creating more value for clients and helping them along this journey. That’s why we’re coming together with industry-leading partners like Microsoft to deliver tailored solutions that will help accelerate and simplify their digital transformation.”

RBC & Microsoft design tailored solutions to fuel business growth
The manufacturing sector in Canada accounts for approximately $174bn in GDP, more than 10% of the total GDP of the entire country.1 The adoption of advanced smart factory technologies can help fuel the next wave of business growth by way of significant cost savings, increased productivity and enhanced quality which ultimately results in delivering greater value to customers and employees.

Despite these benefits, mid-market Canadian manufacturing firms are falling behind when it comes to the digital transformation of their business, making Canada one of the worst performers in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD)2. Fifty-five per cent of manufacturers do not use advanced technologies and one-fifth have no plans to invest in them in the next three years, naming cost and uncertainty as deterrents for digital transformation3.

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https://canadianvisa.org/life-in-canada/key-industries/manufacturing, Canadian Visa Org, 2019

Industrie 2030: Accelerating Adoption of Advanced Manufacturing TechnologiesCanadian Manufacturers & Exporters, 2017

2018 Management Issues SurveyCanadian Manufacturers & Exporters, 2018

Given this significant opportunity, RBC’s Go Digital program is now available to Canadian food manufacturers as part of its initial launch with plans to extend the program’s reach to additional industries.

“This strategic partnership with RBC demonstrates our strong commitment to helping companies across Canada have greater access to digital technologies,” said Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “By leveraging the breadth of Microsoft’s trusted cloud platform, tapping into the skilled expertise of our Partner Network and maximizing RBC’s sector-specific business and financial expertise, we believe this program will give organizations in Canada the confidence to truly embrace the next wave of computing, and expand that reach to more businesses across North America in the longer term.”

Optimizing food manufacturing operations powered by Microsoft
RBC and Microsoft co-designed a curated suite of technology and innovation financing solutions tailored to food manufacturers. Leveraging a group of industry-leading partners from Microsoft’s Partner Network, RBC’s Go Digitalprogram offers access to digital solutions that are powered by artificial intelligence, cloud business applications, data analytics, blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). These solutions include, but are not limited to:

  1. Environmental monitoring (i.e. temperature, humidity, air quality) leveraging the scale and intelligence of Microsoft’s Azure Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled sensor technology to reduce waste, drive efficiency and realize cost savings;
  2. Food transparency and traceability leveraging blockchain technology to meet regulatory requirements and standards, from farm to table;
  3. Production variability monitoring using Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Azure IoT capabilities to reduce equipment downtime, increase output forecasting accuracy and improve quality control; and
  4. Cloud-Based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) leveraging Dynamics 365 to address food safety and compliance, quality and production, recipe development and management, and food recall traceability.

 

SOURCE Royal Bank of Canada

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Resulticks Welcomes Sophie Pibouin as Executive VP of Sales of the Americas

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Real-time omnichannel marketing solutions provider Resulticks has announced the expansion of the company’s leadership team with the hire of Sophie Pibouin as Head of Sales, U.S. Resulticks’ AI-powered platform provides users with segmented data and consumer behavior analytics, allowing marketers to create highly targeted and individualized campaigns across telecom, healthcare, banking, hospitality and other diverse industries.

Sophie Pibouin brings a global perspective, deep understanding of the market and unparallel expertise in propelling business growth. With two decades of executive experience including roles at IBM, SDL, Chronicle Solutions and CA Inc., she has led the strategic evolution and exceptional expansion of Fortune 500 and VC-backed high-tech companies, achieving record increases in sales and uplifts in competitiveness.

“The addition of Sophie to our executive team comes as we see strong opportunities across the region, which will play a significant role in Resulticks’ forward growth strategy,” said CEO and co-founder Redickaa Subrammanian. “Bringing deep marketing and global technology experience that complements our existing capabilities, she is well-positioned to be an integral asset to our U.S.-based clientele.”

In her new role, Sophie will lead efforts to expand Resulticks’ U.S. footprint and identify new opportunities for accelerated growth.

“I am delighted to be joining a rapidly growing organization that is delivering a holistic solution to its users,” said Sophie Pibouin, Resulticks Executive VP of Sales of the Americas. “Resulticks’ all-in-one cloud-based platform helps marketers understand and reach their audiences in a truly integrated way, and I am eager to bring that value to even more U.S.-based brands.”

Prior to joining Resulticks, Sophie was the Worldwide Sales Leader at IBM Watson. A graduate of the University of Flaubert in France, she is based in New York City.

 

SOURCE Resulticks

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5-Star Destination, Tokyo Station Hotel, Adopts Bebot, Bespoke’s AI-powered Travel Concierge

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Bespoke, creators of the world’s first AI-powered chatbot developed for travelers, today announce Tokyo Station Hotel, an independent 5-star hotel in Tokyo, has adopted Bebot to serve guests. Through Bespoke’s unique travel-focused AI, Bebot provides hotel guests with an intuitive, responsive and friendly channel to ask any questions that arise during a hotel visit. Guests can make requests for recommendations, reservations and services, or ask specific questions related to their travel experience – all through chat. With Bespoke’s recent launch into the US Market, Bebot is now available for US-based hotels and travel destinations.

Bespoke’s world-leading, unique travel-focused AI is augmented by on-the-ready, seamless, human chat to continuously improve, teach and optimize their AI technology, providing customers and travelers with a no-compromise, reliable source of information. Bebot’s advanced AI was developed to provide travelers with essential information and tips in an intuitive and familiar, yet powerful chat service – providing essential and inspiring tips and information to improve guests’ visits, while relieving hotel staff.

“Tokyo Station Hotel is one of few independent 5-star hotels, and we’re honored they choose Bebot to serve their guests,” said Akemi Tsunagawa, founder and CEO of Bespoke. “Our unique AI was developed from the ground up to serve the specific needs of travelers providing them with the timely info, tips and guidance they need to have a comfortable stay wherever they go.”

In addition to providing information about services, rates, amenities, menu options and directions, Bebot provides travelers with vital details about nearby attractions, destinations and more. Travelers access Bebot by scanning a QR code found on a placard or by visiting a url provided by the hotel – no additional downloads are necessary.

 

SOURCE Bespoke

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