Fortified by Tin Men, GlobalTix doubles down on tech roots

Refreshing $3m funding is not survival cash, it’s to go complete power on digitisation mission

THE new funding round of S$3 million raised by GlobalTix from Tin Men Funds and SEEDS Cash is not “survival or rescue money” but fresh new cash to build up its arsenal of tech tools and to fortify its SaaS product in an ever more competitive sector.

That information came across loud and clear when I caught up with Benjamin Tan of Tin Adult males Funds, who’s been vested in the Singapore-based mostly business considering the fact that 2018 when it set in US$9 million in GlobalTix’s 1st institutional round, and GlobalTix’s two co-founders, brothers Chan Chee Kong and Chan Chee Chong, in Tin Men’s places of work in the conservation-detailed Khong Guan Setting up, built in 1952.

GlobalTix, started in 2013, is seizing the possibility afforded by Covid to, in a way, go back to its roots of being a tech company corporation. As Chee Chong, who is CEO, remembers, “When we commenced, we went out to the market to discuss about tech enablement of their functions, and all people retained asking us, can you market tickets?”

Chan Chee Chong, CEO (suitable) and brother Chan Chee Kong, COO: “We want to go entire force on tech enablement and ride on the entire digitisation wave which is transpired in the course of Covid,”

And so around
time, the business formulated two legs – a distribution/ticketing channel and a
SaaS design of tech enablement. “We generally experienced two legs to stand on but with
Covid, a single leg has certainly been damage a lot more than the other. We want to go complete
power on tech enablement and trip on the whole digitisation wave that’s
happened throughout Covid,” mentioned Chee Chong.

Chipped in COO Chee Kong, “The other leg is not lifeless. Inevitably vacation will arrive back but if you have economical toughness, this is the very best time to construct up tech. All these with out economic abilities will be hunkering down. We want to select up the expertise we want to establish up our tech capabilities.”

Digitisation has been accelerated a 10 years – superior news for enterprise tech

And it was this eyesight of strengthening its B2B organization tech that Tin Guys acquired into without the need of hesitation, reported Tan. Tin Men, named right after that most humble of factor that constructed up industry in South-east Asia, is a fund focused on business tech – its portfolio involves Hubble, Brazyn, Fee It and Overdrive. “We all arrived from B2B, tech as a business, history. We have an understanding of unit economics, and not burning money right until another person invests,” said Tan.

Benjamin Tan: The mural commissioned from a Colombian artist takes pride of location in Tin Men’s business.

GlobalTix
is its only vacation expense out of five. Recalling the instant in 2018 when it
to start with invested in GlobalTix, Tan explained, “Although we did not know travel, we
assumed GlobalTix was exclusive, that it targeted on the trade facet, offering large
manufacturers with offer specifically throughout South-east Asia, so that brand names can emphasis
on marketing with offer dealt with by GlobalTix. We like that.

“This new spherical is to invest in tech – to aid digitise the significant attractions and present tech to smaller and medium tours and things to do providers in the extensive tail.”

Tan explained that he favored the fact that, even by means of the pandemic, GlobalTix trapped to its mandate. “Even with the SingapoRediscover Vouchers programme, it took an angle that it would electrical power attractions to promote and leverage the vouchers immediately and trapped to its B2B roots to deliver price to its prospects.”

Presented that it’s not heavily uncovered to vacation, Tan reported the fund has done perfectly during Covid. With pursuits in development and industrial IoT, Tan stated the digitisation of these sectors has been accelerated by at least a decade. “Everyone employed the downtime to stack up on tech and we see that very same development going on in travel.”

Of program, Tan admitted it was “initially scary” in the early times of Covid to see travel demand from customers vanish. “But we realized it would survive. It’s received a prudent CFO who is aware about expense manage. It was a query of how it would use the time.”

Classes from Hoi An and Borobudur

How it has
used the time is to establish up a stack of options close to safe and sound entry, get hold of
tracing, potential management, cross-border channel distribution and an
conclusion-to-conclude electronic ticketing for a contactless encounter.

Acknowledging
the opposition out there – with the drying up of buyer need, most of its
competition have also invested closely in B2B tech these as Klook and KKday –
Chee Chong stated, “The pie is big more than enough for anyone. In the resort field,
there is not one single PMS that has conquered the room. Indeed, it’s a land get
for now but the tech for ticketing units, no a single process has the exact options
as the other – the more the superior, I say. Now no just one can say, ‘you are the
only 1 executing this?’.

Possessing mentioned
that, he added, “We want to gain in Asia. The massive and medium sizing sights
respect our neutrality, as perfectly as the operators of little companies these kinds of as
strolling tours. Our answer is a complete suite of solutions masking system
optimization, purchaser journey and integration with the again finish.

“We empower
businesses with their own abilities so they can select to go immediate or work
with others. This is our way of developing a degree taking part in area for the sector
– for major and little fellas.”

It’s understanding heaps from existing customers these as the UNESCO-stated Hoi An Historical Town which wants to digitise its ticketing and introduce a “town pass”, the place prospects can pick from a menu of attractions for just one price tag. It is also working with Borobudur, the popular temple attraction of Indonesia, to digitise regional ticket sales.

“Every one client teaches us some thing. For case in point, never ever underestimate the power of finance departments – when you want to introduce any ticketing technique, finance has a incredibly massive say. In Indonesia, you need to have a commission procedure to cater to taxi motorists. Just about every attraction has exclusive demands that we have to tackle. This is a a few to five-year journey,” said Chee Chong.

A single leg could be hurt for now but business requirements two robust legs for sturdy progress

Whilst it is
doubling down on its B2B solutions, the two brothers stressed that the two legs
of the business – distribution/ticketing and tech enablement – go together.
“Distribution can’t turn into much more productive if there is no tech. In Thailand,
even though we API to companies like TripAdvisor and Expedia, there is a human
emailing powering the scenes. For distribution to be productive, we want suppliers
to adopt tech,” stated Chee Chong.

This most up-to-date
financial investment is to correct the roots of the business – to generate tech adoption so that
distribution becomes additional efficient. Mentioned Chee Kong. “Our shoppers exterior Singapore
are intrigued in our distribution – they see the light at the conclude of the
tunnel and they want to be equipped to change on the change and get initial chunk at the
restoration. There is a will need to make back again distribution as properly.”

A significant
obstacle struggling with Singapore-primarily based vacation tech corporations nevertheless is the expertise
drain and crunch. Plenty of tech talent has left journey, lured by the huge Chinese
and other e-commerce giants that are expanding into South-east Asia, and it is
a challenge competing for new tech expertise towards these giants.

Reflecting the new priority of the corporation, of its 70-particular person headcount, 20 are now in hardcore tech, explained Chee Chong. “Recruitment in Singapore is notably challenging. This is element of the explanation why we are expanding abroad, we have tech developers in Indonesia and the Philippines and are hiring in Thailand.”

GlobalTix know-how is deployed at Gardens by the Bay

Chee Kong
stated, “For travel corporations like us, Covid has aided us in the workplace. It’s
proven us various strategies of operating, that it is simple to function with overseas groups,
that virtual conferences are as productive. Nonetheless, sure, we have not misplaced sight of
the actuality that fireworks materialize when you have actual physical groups sitting collectively in
entrance of whiteboards. But it is revealed us a new hybrid way of operating.”

As for how
Covid has improved Tin Men’s perspective as an trader, Tan said, “This is a
crisis that does not spare any individual so we have viewed plenty of compassion and empathy
and traders giving additional leeway to their portfolio companies. Now we’ve absent
earlier that and we’ve identified a way to work regardless of it and in fact, there are more
options.”

It’s also
built the corporation much more proactive in phrases of scouting for expense
chances. “We employed to be passive. Now we are forming precise undertaking forces
to go following organizations in distinct spaces – this sort of as transport, producing, oil
and gasoline, ad and marketing tech.”

It desires a
utmost of 10 firms and living up to its name of Tin Guys – “we see benefit in
what may not glitter” – Tan mentioned its vision is to create a resilient fund and
“return the equal of a unicorn-driven” portfolio.

“We have
5 superior providers and anyone is executing very well. We are hunting for
cash-productive functions that we don’t have to toss money at to drive
achievements. The $3 million is icing on the cake for GlobalTix, they have solid
reserves currently, we want each their legs to do perfectly.”

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