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IGOTOPIA

Creating the world’s first luxury online travel agent powered by VR and AI

SUMMARY VIDEO

COMPANY DETAILS

SUMMARY
  • Igotopia is the holding company with wholly owned subsidiaries Gecko Digital Global Limited and Igoroom Sdn Bhd 

  • Gecko Digital is Asia’s leading virtual reality agency and in only 6 years has grown to be the leading player in the world of VR marketing for luxury tourism

  • Gecko Digital has 500 + clients using their software and services over 6 regions and 4 offices

  • Gecko Digital is already amassing the largest VR library in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia with tourism board and hospitality strategic partnerships and is scaling fast

  • Virtual Reality is starting to take centre-stage in luxury tourism marketing and Gecko Digital is uniquely posed to take advantage

  • Alongside Gecko Digital is parked Igoroom Sdn Bhd, the worlds first online travel agent powered by VR

  • Gecko Digital’s top line has been growing close to 100% yr on yr having closed 2019 with 2.5mn MYR in sales with a 58% margin

  • Gecko Digital currently has a pipeline of over 8mn MYR as it moves in to the COVID-19 recovery period and harnesses production contracts for Igoroom’s rollout

  • Igoroom uses that library of VR content created by Gecko Digital and empowers end-users with a revolutionary UI and UX platform that seeks to disrupt the booking process in the hospitality industry

  • Igoroom’s model focuses on offering customized luxury travel experiences across the world, at distinguished venues by leveraging Augmented Realities and Artifical Intelligence

  • Igoroom is a next-generation Discovery + Booking engine for Millenial Travellers – disrupting a market that is ‘ripe for this kind of innovation’

  • Igoroom is uniquely poised to take advantage of the Covid recovery period and is positioned to capitalize on the pent-up demand for luxury travel as destination markets begin to ease border control

  • Igotopia has the ability to develop, enhance, maintain, protect and harvest a library of IP through its subsidiary development companies

  • The capital raise will allow us to maintain our competitive advantage in terms of pricing + packaging and IP harvesting whilst helping us to scale operations rapidly in to new territories as we identify new source and destination markets in the lead up to our Series A

  • With the investment in to the holding company; Igotopia, we aim at spring-boarding off the PR and Ads and Promo to leverage on the first market mover advantage to pave the way to a Series A for rapid global expansion

  • A testament to our business model has been phenomenal as we are in the process of onboarding the largest international hotel chains as pent-up demand is already outpacing current projections on supply and demand in a pandemic-afflicted industry, witnessed by the surge in staycation bookings and buy now stay later initiatives

  • Igoroom and Gecko Digital are positioned for rapid growth in sales with 35mn MYR + projected sales in 2021 at an average growth rate of 11% yr on yr to 2024, operating on an average 28% gross margin over that same period

PROBLEM
  • Online Travel Agents (OTA’s)

  1. Fastened by outdated, homogenised booking platforms where differentiation is entirely functional, OTA content lacks excitement, promoting third-party sourced reviews and robotic descriptions. Limited personalization and bespoking of service is restrictive and not ideal for the leisure traveller requiring recommended itineraries, transfers and add-on ‘experiences’

  2. Operating on thin margins amidst growing competition in a saturated market place, OTAs focus on the battleground for price sensitive buyers and price aggregation, losing sight of what it means to harness brand loyalty for a more premium product where hunting for the cheapest lead-in price becomes the status quo

  3. After-sales care/support is uncertain with most OTAs opting for overseas call centers to serve their customer database. This erodes the pre-booking experience and limits scale to markets which are predominantly served by English speaking agents where product / destination knowledge becomes diluted

  • Customer / Demand-side

  1. Upscale / luxury travel continues to be dominated by traditional / offline travel agents despite other luxury categories such as Net-a-Porter in Fashion and Cult Beauty in Beauty, moving more and more online

  2. No platform exists today where customers can truly see inside a holiday destination and compare experiences

  3. Property discovery is currently driven by price and ratings

  • Hotel / Supply-side

  1. With a steep rise in hotel inventory in many Upscale / Luxury destinations (e.g Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles), room availability has significantly outpaced customer demand leaving an excess of unrented rooms

  2. Upscale / Luxury hotels have become more reliant on traditional / offline travel agents for their share of bookings, weighing more on the wholesale and tour operator side of the market

  3. There is an obvious asymmetry of massive investment in hotel infrastructure vs. limited ability to showcase it’s product to potential customers

SOLUTION 
  • Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

  1. Igoroom will offer a more user-centric experience by driving a wholly innovative UI / UX  navigation front-end, revolutionising the way people ‘tour’ through hotels. The experience will be immersive and expressive in location discovery (aerial, interior, underwater VR) with interactive comparisons of hotels properties and facilities via our pioneering VR walk-throughs

  2. Spring-boarding off the initial downloads, Igoroom will use that membership base to create brand loyalty as we focus our efforts on rolling out loyalty programs, strategic partnerships that tap in to an accessible alliance of benefits and seek to establish a community by bringing people together for hosted events and giveaways

  3. Igoroom will offer a more bespoke experience with a concierge-like service and integrated door-to-door and inclusive packages. Showcasing a smarter digital experience as we leverage from AI-driven recs to help better understand our end-customer and continue with our research and development in to multi-lingual AI chatbots will help channel us in to new markets where language, product customization and market complexity would otherwise limit growth

  • Customer / Demand-side

  1. Igoroom and Gecko Digital tap in to the demands of the millennial upscale traveller with a super-slick, 100%-digital lead booking experience

  2. Uniquely suited for Upscale / Luxury travel, a virtual and immersive reality booking engine revolutionizes discovery and evaluation of hotel resorts and destinations

  3. Premium markets tend to look for best experience and not the best price and are not seduced by meta searches

  • Hotel / Supply-side

  1. Hotels are now more than ever (COVID19) looking for new customers and willing to explore new and innovative distribution channels. With restrictions on movement in place, virtual reality addresses this by bringing the property to the people

  2. By shifting the mix away from conventional tour operators to the upscale OTA model would bring a significant revenue advantage, taking a sizeable bite out of unbundled wholesale rates whilst capitalizing on OTA and flash sale commission rates

  3. Igoroom’s virtual reality content finally brings luxury hotels to life negating the need for static one dimensional photography

PRODUCT 
IGOROOM
  • Igoroom’s 2021 launch will make it the first Virtual Reality OTA, positioning it as a first market mover and synonymous with disruption. Igoroom will use this as a springboard to instant recognition by driving sales and downloads from the initial attention received in the press both online and offline

  • Igoroom will be invested in AI establishing its core identity as an online agency and using data analytics to predict trends and previous buying patterns so that we have a better idea of how curated packages can be targeted to better suit a certain profile

  • Igoroom will not just focus on building VR content for room inventories but also on the destination, with stunning virtual tours of local areas of interest from heritage sites to the natural world

  • Igoroom’s inventory management connectivity and geo-blocking software will make the booking process for both the supply and the demand side more seamless and easier to tailor region specific packages to region specific customers

PRODUCT
GECKO DIGITAL
  • Six years of investment in to product and promotion has made Gecko Digital the most recognized brand for Virtual Reality content in the Travel and Hospitality industry

  • Revenue and monetization via technology is not limited to the luxury travel industry, but scalable to other sectors

  • Gecko Digital has two types of strategic partnerships, the keys to unlocking rapid growth to help populate Igoroom’s front-end, already amassing the largest VR library in the Indian Ocean and SE Asia and scaling fast:

  1. Tourism Boards: In economies where tourism makes an out-sized contribution to GDP, Tourism Boards carry significant influence. With Tourism Board endorsements Gecko Digital has been able to map destinations in VR, giving Gecko Digital and Igoroom a huge sales lever to monetize content from hotels, thus helping to facilitate rapid expansion and opening the door to key decision makers in that country

  2. Wholesalers: Bartering off room nights for content has allowed Gecko Digital to significantly reduce its cash conversion cycle whilst upping its premiums and leveraging off respected endorsements from influential buyers in upscale / luxury markets

TRACTION
  • In 2015 Gecko Digital received its first corporate management contract via an independent group in Indonesia

  • By 2016 Gecko Digital had secured its first global preferred supplier status with ‘Hyatt Hotels’ giving the brand first class precedence amongst other emerging suppliers

  • 2017 saw Gecko Digital’s VR content ranked #1 on the Accor global app as we rolled out more global corporate initiatives and subsequently quickly became an industry name as more sales hubs were established to expand our global reach

  • In 2018 Gecko Digital partnered with the Maldives Tourism board which saw a first of its kind virtual map of a country produced as part of a destination marketing initiative, helping Gecko Digital pioneer the way for new Virtual Reality underwater mapping directives

  • Low onboarding costs for hotels and strategic partnerships with tourism boards and wholesalers has allowed Gecko Digital to amass an expansive library of IP and put Gecko Digital on the ‘preferred supplier’ map of the biggest corporate hotel chains

  • Up until 2020, Gecko Digital’s revenue was growing at an average rate of 100% yr on yr with an average Gross Margin of 75%

  • As with most industries Gecko Digital is not exempt from the COVID crisis, having used this period to safeguard new hotel contracts with better commercial terms which allow faster acquisition of content via bartered rooms that populate the Igoroom platform. In spite of recent events, Gecko Digital has still been able to reach RM400k in sales and is looking to increase this number for the holding entity (Igotopia) in 2021 as it rolls out its partnership with Igoroom and subsequently increases its IP holding

  • As our business is mostly underpinned by domestic travel, Igoroom will pivot on staycation packages for the local traveller and ‘buy now stay later’ for international travel as we ease in to the recovery period and capitalize on pent-up demand. This allows for substantial working capital gains beyond the initial raise

  • Given its high working capital gains, rapid inventory acquisition through bartered content and rapid expansion fastened by strategic partnerships, Igotopia and its subsidiaries (Gecko Digital and Igoroom) is forecast to make an average of RM116 mn in revenue per year at an average GP margin of 27.5% per year between 2021 and 2023 respectively

CUSTOMERS
  • As Gecko Digital has been laying the foundations for the next phase, preparing a launch-pad of content and contracts for Igoroom has ushered in the biggest players in the hospitality industry from Tourism Boards to Wholesalers to the top hotel management chains. We expect to rapidly expand our customer database as we increase our product base and target new verticals

Hotels and Resorts

Tourism Boards and Wholesaler

More coming onboard 2021

BUSINESS MODEL
  • Igoroom leverages off Gecko Digital’s network of tourism boards, hotels and corporates to empower it’s booking engine with proprietary VR content. Content is created on a large scale and quickly through Gecko Digital’s distribution channels and key strategic partnerships. This symbiotic relationship between wholesalers, tourism boards, Igoroom and Gecko Digital means content is distributed to vast audiences with strong endorsements which allow Igotopia’s IP center to harvest a library of Ip-able content in preparation for a licensing or acquisition exit

MARKET
  • As the impact of COVID-19 and its effect on the hospitality industry resonate around the world, we foresee a bounce back in luxury tourism as pent up demand drives luxury travel, the sector forecast to make the  quickest recovery. Additionally as governments lay out their plans for economic stimuli in tourism, Igoroom and Gecko Digital will be uniquely poised to capitalize on ‘staycation’ and ‘buy now stay later’ incentives in regions that are already experiencing high demand since corridors of travel have begun to ease between affluent source markets and upscale destinations (in some cases demand is exceeding that of 2019)

  • Total addressable market is a USD450bn industry sub-sector. Whereas OTA penetration is low in upscale / luxury travel versus business and budget travel we envision a space opening up in economies where tourism makes an out-sized contribution to GDP. Flash-sale mechanisms are already beginning to take center-stage in countries like the Maldives where online adoption is driving competition as more hotels move to ‘entry boutique’ and an ‘all inclusive’ type customer as traditionally high-end destinations embrace a new digitally empowered traveller

COMPETITION
  • The OTA experience as a whole is homogenized and unemotional with nothing currently being offered by the ‘big four’ in terms of personalization or a user-centric lead journey in to the hotel’s product. The experience lacks excitement and is driven by meta searches in to the cheapest lead-in category of room, distracting the user’s focus from the core product. Igoroom puts the ‘dream’ back in to holidays and is a next generation booking engine, disrupting a market that is ripe for this kind of innovation

Igoroom has four sources of sustainable competitive advantage with:

  1. Content: will underpin the User Interface which will drive a totally unique user-centric experience via access to Gecko Digital’s IP-able content

  2. Brand positioning: making it’s 2021 launch as the world’s first VR OTA a true first in a market moving break-through

  3. Product Tech and AI: will allow Igoroom to deploy a set of machine-learning capabilities delivering a smart and intuitive booking experience in both the front and back-end of the platform

  4. Partnerships: with DMCs makes unbundled wholesale rates available to Igoroom giving us significant margin advantage

FUNDING
  • James South, CEO and founder has thus far funded all subsidiaries under the holding company. We are looking at raising funds for working capital with the major contribution split between ads and promo and operational resources to attract the right team and ‘rapid scale’ strategy. A considerable use of the working capital will further fund Gecko Digital’s expansion as it continues on it’s current trajectory and charters its success in to new markets

  • Igotopia (holding) is forecast to deliver RM35million in sales in 2021 at a Gross Margin of 29%. The combined historic value of IP for Gecko Digital and a DCF valuation of Igoroom has valued Igotopia and its subsidiaries at pre-money RM64million. Our minimum raise is RM4.1million with a maximum target of RM8.2million

VISION
  • We believe in challenging the status quo, by investing in disruptive travel technologies with a passion to reinventing how our companies can apply those technologies to new business models to become the world’s leading content-enriched travel platform. Our roadmap to global expansion envisions creating a library of IP for harvest via an acquisition or licensing exit

INVESTORS
  • Igotopia and its subsidiaries are 100% self-funded by the founding members and to date Gecko Digital has become the largest Virtual Reality agency in South-East Asia without leveraging off external investors. To date Gecko Digital has accrued a library of IP for the Indian Ocean, facilitated partnerships with wholesalers and hotel management chains and opened up in 4 major locations

  • Igoroom has developed and internally deployed a working prototype of the travel platform which is currently bookmarked for launch in April of this year, 2021

FOUNDER
  • James South is a serial and experienced entrepreneur, leader and innovator with a passion in process, change management and new technologies having conceived, developed and homologated the world’s first removable battery electric motorbike with battery leasing. The award winning product featured heavily in the global press and James was inducted in to The Courvoisier Future 500 in 2008 and nominated as The Telegraph’s ‘Eco Hero’ in a leader article published the following year

  • In 2014 James founded Gecko Digital, which went on to become Asia’s largest Virtual Reality agency, using this as a springboard to harvest IP and content to launch Igoroom

  • In 2020 James founded Igotopia: the holding company and Igoroom: the worlds first online travel agent exlusively powered by VR and AI

TEAM
  • To date, Igotopia has managed to attract the attention of some of the biggest movers and shakers in hospitality, characterised by the leadership team’s mastery of tech innovation, decades of experience in hospitality and unified by an appetite for entrepreneurial flair

  • Our core team are made up of ex-OTA professionals as well as travel industry professionals and high level corporate governance executives who are striving to create a better booking experience and help strengthen our operational and marketing units in the lead-up to our Series A

CORE TEAM

James South (CEO) – Founder and CEO of Gecko Digital, James’ contribution to work reflects a valuable blend of corporate finance and governance understanding, process and systems experience, commercial and leadership skills, innovative thinking and entrepreneurial flair. James is a serial entrepreneur and has featured heavily in the press and won awards for his endeavours

Matthew Barsing (CCO) – Matthew Barsing is an experienced business and economic development professional with over 20 years experience in Australia, Asia, Europe and America bringing to the table an unparalleled background in international business, economic development, business strategy and strategic innovation

Daniel Hofinger (CMO) – Dan is an experienced sales and marketing professional with over 20 years experience in managing large teams, the last 5 of which have been overseeing large scale campaigns for some of the world’s most recognized brands to help deliver award winning performance

Shaun Bicheno (CTO) – With 20+ years as a database developer across 4 continents Shaun is an experienced back-end developer with lead roles in PM, CLR and QC. In 1998 Shaun founded his own property management agency ‘Casas Canarias’. A devotee of communication, automation and workplace efficiency Shaun has joined the board of Igotopia in 2020 to help scale their products to a broadening marketplace

ADVISORY PANEL

Michael Flynn - Michael has been working in the hospitality and related travel industries for 35 years spanning aviation with Singapore airlines and several hotel companies in senior roles at Accor as SVP Marketing and Sales Asia Pacific and Hilton International as VP Sales and Marketing . Since leaving Corporate life Michael established a Hospitality Consulting Practice across Asia Pacific which was acquired by Cushman and Wakefield and has co founded an IT Services business and started a hotel management company in The Maldives

Burhanuddin Radzi –Having started his career in oil and gas, Burhan ventured in to the animation industry and setup ‘Les Copaques’ with his wife in 2005. With their most recent franchise Upin and Ipin becoming a global phenomena and being shortlisted for an Oscar, Burhan has built an animation empire via licensing to the Disney channel and amassing a following of more than 13 million subscribers on Youtube

Kishore Mirchindani - A seasoned forward-thinking hands-on executive with a stellar record of success in building and selling businesses. He has extensive global experience and a successful track record in building high growth enterprises and startups, as well as proven specialties in Compliance, Cross Border M&A transactions, Board leadership, Capital markets, Finance, accounting & tax, Cloud and technology solutions

Bobby Varanasi - Bobby is the Founder of Matryzel Consulting – an independent advisory firm that has been acknowledged as one of the World’s “Best of the Best Outsourcing Advisory Firms”, and one of top 20 best outsourcing advisory firms for three years in a row (2013, 2014 & 2015). He brings with him over two decades of experience in consulting and management across Technology, Business Services and building global operations

Joost Folkers – Joost is an all round multi-country CFO with broad FMCG experience across Europe and Asia. He has a proven track record in driving growth, margin and cash delivery; managing minority shareholders / joint ventures; M&A initiatives and system / ERP implementations

Poon Yew Hoe – Poon is Managing Partner of Crowe Malaysia, an accounting firm with 14 offices in Malaysia and Cambodia. He has 45 years experience in the field of auditing, taxation and business consulting

PRESS

https://corporate.visitmaldives.com/news/memorandum-of-understanding-signed-between-mmprc-and-pt-gecko-digital-indonesia/

Whilst there is no coverage as yet on Igotopia and Igoroom, there is extensive coverage on James South (founder) and his previous ventures as listed below:

https://cms.howtospendit.ft.com/technology/1510-econogo-yogo

https://www.esquire.com/uk/style/gear/news/a2544/econogo-go-on-the-yogo/

https://metro.co.uk/2011/05/04/venture-candy-reliving-the-adventure-one-year-on-654640/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8599873.stm

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/green-pioneers-the-yogo-electric-scooter-is-leader-of-the-pack-nfs965j3w7p

https://www.wallpaper.com/lifestyle/econogo-yogo-electric-scooter

 


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