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Scuba diving platform ZuBlu raises USD 1 million seed funding led by Wavemaker Partners

ZuBlu has grown its resort partner network and member community despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Manta Rays feeding near surface with school of Blue Seachub, Kyphosus cinerascens, Baa Atoll, Maldives

ZuBlu, the Hong Kong-based travel platform focusing on scuba diving and underwater adventure in Asia, has raised USD 1 million of seed funding in a round led by Wavemaker Partners, according to an announcement on Tuesday. Other investors participating in this round are Mana Impact, She1k, and several angel investors.

Founded in 2017 by Adam Broadbent and Matthew Oldfield, two scuba diving enthusiasts with decades of experience, ZuBlu aims to help users making informed and sustainable travel choices.

The startup is backed by Hong Kong-based startup investor and accelerator Betatron. ZuBlu said it has grown its resort partner network and member community by 46% and 425% respectively this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the travel industry.

ZuBlu plans to utilize the funding to further enhance the platform’s features to ensure a seamless search, comparison and booking experience, a spokesperson told KrASIA. The company also wants to expand its resort portfolio and experience offerings, as well as increase marketing outreach.

ZuBlu’s co-founder Adam Broadbent said that although the travel sector is undergoing a major transformation, scuba diving and underwater adventure travel are uniquely positioned to flourish in a post-coronavirus market. “More than ever, we expect people to seek out memorable encounters, to want to escape the crowds, experience new cultures and support sustainable business practices,” he said in a statement.

Diver already planning next trips

Every operator on the platform is vetted for its commitment to sustainable practices, including those that adhere to the UN-backed Green Fins code of conduct.

In a statement, Wavemaker Partners’ managing partner Paul Santos said he believes that ZuBlu will continue to thrive after the pandemic. “ZuBlu has experienced strong traction from divers already planning their trips despite the current global slowdown in travel. This, combined with the company’s high capital efficiency, means they can spend time building and refining their platform and onboarding more high-quality travel partners. We are confident they will benefit from unlocking pent-up demand as soon as travel restrictions ease,” he said.