On July 15, Yanolja 야놀자 announced it received USD 1.7b (KRW 2t) from Softbank Vision Fund, in exchange for 20% stake in the company. Founded by Lee Su-jin 이수진, a former motel janitor, Yanolja began in 2005 as a low-grade booking service site for cheap motels.
In addition to becoming South Korea’s leading mobile app for travel booking, the company has grown into a cloud-based hotel administration service provider, managing the electronic operations of hotels including unmanned hotels and motels which are increasingly becoming more mainstream. Thanks to its operations business, Yanolja recorded in 2020 a 43.8% year-to-year growth in revenue despite the plunging travel market during the COVID-19 pandemic, and turned a profit of approximately KRW 16.1b (USD 14.1m).
The investment into Yanolja is the second largest for Softbank into a Korean company, following its investment in Coupang 쿠팡.