A Closer Look at Cohort 7’s Kooky and Cocotel

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The world has reopened. Now that the shadow of COVID-19 has left us, people are resuming their lives, and trying their best to live happily, healthily, and fully. These goals are all the more important now that we have entered another crisis in the form of a global recession: Consumers must focus on their wellness in this kind of bleak economic environment. 

Startups play a role here, too. Organizations with consumer-facing, lifestyle products can help individuals in ways deeper than mere convenience: They can enliven their days at a time they need it the most. 

Two startups from Accelerating Asia’s Cohort 7 are fulfilling this mandate: Kooky, a community built around K-pop and K-culture fandom and Accelerating Asia’s first investment in Korea, and Cocotel, an online hotel management company geared toward independent property owners that ultimately also helps travelers. 

Kooky (Korea, SDG 9)

Hami Kim knows the struggles of being an artist first-hand. "My music has been streamed over 1 million times, which is great - but I only made US$200," said Kim. This realization inspired her to create Kooky, a platform that empowers fans to support their favorite artists directly, including musicians, models, actors, and other celebrities. 

On Kooky, fans can create their own communities, support artists, and avail of merchandise and unique experiences. Through the purchase of Kooky points, they can also unlock exclusive content, cast votes, and support crowdfunding campaigns. This connection creates a positive feedback loop for both parties. "Fans can get artists famous and help them monetize, allowing them to continue making content," said Kim. 

Kooky has grown at an incredible pace, with over 21,000 pieces of user-generated content and a week-on-week growth rate of 8% in daily active users. Notably, many of these users are international fans, which is in keeping with Kim’s global visions. According to Kim, there are 150 million K-pop fans, 90% of which are based outside Korea, and this fan base is growing 45% annually. 

Kim is focused on enabling fans to better support their favorite artists. “Fans are the only solution that helps artists survive,” she said, who is intent on facilitating this connection both online and offline: Kim pointed out that their first K-pop week event was taking place just three hours after her pitch, five minutes away from the venue of Accelerating Asia’s demo day.

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Cocotel (Philippines, SDG 8)

Of the 500,000 hotels in Asia Pacific, 99% are actually independently owned. According to Cocotel founder and CEO Rafael Jouwena, this segmentation provides a unique market opportunity: The independent hotel market is expected to grow to US$170 by 2026, with 76% of bookings predicted to come from online sources.

Cocotel wants to bridge these independent hotels into the digital economy.

"We assist with digital marketing through our social media management and SEO, making them more visible online. Additionally, we introduce our property management system that reduces overbooking by at least 99% and connects them to more than 100 Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), including our own website and app worldwide,” said Jouwena.

On top of bringing them more travelers, Cocotel helps these property owners earn more. Through dynamic pricing and yield management services, Cocotel has increased revenue of client properties by at least 13%. This increase is significant for such businesses, many of whom are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. 

Already active in the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Cocotel has reached US$800,000 in booking revenue. The company aims to reach US$100 million in booking revenue through a portfolio of 800 hotels across Asia Pacific by 2025. “Let's transform the hospitality industry and empower independent hotels to thrive in the digital era," said Rafa.

Although Cocotel works with the property owners, travelers ultimately benefit just as much. They can more easily discover high quality independent properties, book more conveniently through the Cocotel app or other company channels, and enjoy better service from an increasingly professionalized hospitality staff. Consumers get - in more ways than one - the world. 

Gain exclusive access to the other demo day pitches by signing up here

Interested investors can also co-invest alongside Accelerating Asia or invest into one of our individual startups, including Kooky or Cocotel.


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Accelerating Asia invests in startups with scalable technology solutions and revenue generating business models that combine purpose with profit.


In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of startups and the terms of the investment including the merits and risks involved. Prospective investors should not construe this content as legal, tax, investment, financial or accounting advice.