SiteMinder becomes latest Aussie unicorn, with $1.1 billion valuation


SiteMinder chief Sankar Narayan and co-founder Mike Ford. Source: SiteMinder.

Sydney startup SiteMinder is the first Aussie unicorn to be crowned in 2020, with new investment from BlackRock valuing it at a whopping $1.1 billion.

The hotel booking startup didn’t disclose the size of the investment, but a TechCrunch report put it at US$70 million ($101.6 million).

A report in Australian Financial Review also said it exceeded $100 million.

The round was led by BlackRock, and also included AustralianSuper, Ellerston and Pendal Group.

Founded in 2006, SiteMinder provides booking software to hotels all over the world. Last year, it recorded more than $100 million in annual recurring revenue, with 80% of that coming from outside of Australia.

The startup now has about 900 staff members, spread across offices in Sydney, Bangkok, Dallas, Galway, London and Manila.

According to a statement, the latest cash injection is earmarked for investment in research and development, and for fuelling growth through new go-to-market strategies.

SiteMinder has been flying somewhat under the radar since its Series B raise back in 2014, when it raised $30 million from Silicon Valley VC firms Technology Crossover Ventures.

It also bagged $5 million in 2012, in a round led by Bailador Investment Management.

In a statement today, Bailador announced a $10 million partial cash realisation on its investment, although it stressed this represents a minority portion of its stake.

The statement also said the $1.1 billion valuation reflects more than a 20-times return on its original investment.

SiteMinder becomes the latest Aussie company to join the unicorn club.

Design startup Canva reached a US$1 billion valuation in January 2018, and is now valued at a massive US$3.2 billion ($4.7 billion).

In March last year, Airwallex closed a $141 million raise, securing its unicorn status.

And while (like SiteMinder) it hasn’t topped the US$1 billion milestone, Melbourne HR startup Culture Amp reached a $1.04 billion valuation in September 2019, with co-founder Didier Elzinga dubbing it “a larrikin unicorn”.

There is also speculation that Envato deserves unicorn status, although, as a bootstrapped company, it’s not clear what its valuation is. In fact, founder Cyan Ta’eed has said she doesn’t even know.

NOW READ: A unicorn a year: More than 50 Australian startups founded since 2011 are valued over $100 million

NOW READ: Big and audacious: If Australia wants more unicorns, it needs more confident founders


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