- Capital for hiring talent, product development, more marketing
- Second business for Hitchbird founder to have garnered attention from Catcha
Catcha Group has led a seed investment round into destination wedding marketplace Hitchbird (www.hitchbird.com). Participating in this round is Ken Tsurumaru, former director and co-founder of Catcha Group. The details of the investment have were not disclosed.
Hitchbird currently connects thousands of wedding couples from around the world with destination wedding venues and vendors in the Asia Pacific. The website lists more than 5,000 wedding vendors in 24 categories covering 53 cities in the region, making it the largest wedding marketplace for premium brands.
The capital will be channeled to fuel growth and expansion of the company, including hiring talent, developing product roadmaps and ramping up marketing efforts with the aim of deepening its presence as the leading central platform for couples seeking to make wedding plans in the region.
Catcha Group co-founder and group chief executive officer Patrick Grove said, “If you look at the market size for wedding spend, it’s an estimated US$200 billion dollars in Asia. This is a great opportunity for us to tap into an industry that is experiencing double-digit growth rates and seeing huge trends not only from couples who are going online to plan their weddings but also vendors who are increasingly moving away from print to digital platforms.”
“We are excited to be working with Hitchbird as it is supported by a solid founding team whom we’ve worked with before,” he said, adding that Catcha is pleased to be investing in the second business founded by Hoi Cheung (founder of Hitchbird), whose previous business, SMART, was acquired by iProperty back in 2012 (iProperty was sold to Rupert Murdoch’s REA Group in 2016 for US$534 million).
“Leveraging on our capital, extensive network and expertise of building disruptive internet companies, we plan to help Hitchbird accelerate its growth and expansion into the market,” Grove said.
“We are delighted to have Catcha’s involvement to help spur our early growth, particularly with its tremendous experience in growing similar businesses from early stage to IPO”, said Cheung.
There are more than 30 million weddings per year in Asia alone, and, according to the Destination Wedding Planner’s Congress, the market spend for destination weddings in Asia is estimated to be around US$20 billion per annum. This figure is expected to grow with couples from India and China leading the way in terms of money spend on overseas weddings.
Asia is also a very popular choice for couples residing outside of Asia. “In addition to couples living in Asia, we also see a lot of users from the UK, France, the US, South Africa and Russia, who are looking to get married in exotic locations such as Bali, Phuket, Danang, the Maldives and Bangkok. Hitchbird is basically the TripAdvisor for weddings,” said Cheung.
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