Tripfez, an online travel agency catering to Muslims, today announced it has raised US$750,000 in seed funding. China’s Gobi Partners and Malaysia’s Intres Capital led the round, while Douglas Khoo, co-founder of Chinese travel booking site Qunar, put in some cash.
Tripfez, based in Malaysia, was set up in 2013 by co-founders Faeez Fadhlillah and Juergen Gallistl – two former schoolmates brought together by their mutual love of travel.
The hotels have things like Halal food, a prayer mat and Quran, and a symbol to indicate Qiblah.
In a nutshell, the company helps Muslim travelers discover, compare, and book hotels and tour services that fit their specific needs. The hotel and tour operators on the site provide things like Halal food and a list of Halal restaurants in the vicinity, a prayer mat and Quran, and a symbol to indicate Qiblah, the direction to face when praying during salat.
Tripfez also operates Salam Standard, a new hospitality rating system for Muslim-friendly amenities and services that uses three categories: bronze, silver, and gold.
Tripfez currently lists over 200,000 properties on its site worldwide, of which 20,000 are Salam Standard certified. Of those, 10,000 are hotels, including the popular brands Accor, Movenpick, and Archipelago Hotel Group, Indonesia’s largest hospitality firm.
Tapping the Muslim market makes all the sense for the company, says Gobi Partners managing partner Thomas Tsao. Muslims represent almost a quarter of the world’s population, yet we’ve seen only a few Islam-focused startups, making this market “highly underserved.”
In 2014, Muslim travelers accounted for US$142 billion of global outbound tourism revenue, he adds. This figure is expected to rise to US$233 billion by 2020.
“With Tripfez and Salam Standard’s Halal-friendly travel offerings, we believe that Muslim travelers will feel more comfortable to explore the world,” says Thomas.
Faeez’s team will spend the investment to grow in Malaysia, Indonesia, and key Middle Eastern markets. Specifically, it will use it to add new offerings, boost its marketing, and hire more people.