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Mad Monkey Secures US$4.6M Investment from EXS to Accelerate their Expansion Across Southeast Asia

Mad Monkey, a leading Southeast Asia-based hostel operator and provider of high-octane, sustainable, travel experiences, has closed its first major round of fundraising from the EXS Property Innovation Concepts VCC (“EPIC”), a Singapore-domiciled fund platform sponsored and managed by EXS, a specialist private equity firm focused on real estate business & platforms across Asia.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate its ambitious expansion across Asia, substantially growing its portfolio across the region in the next 3 years, building on the great success of the past decade.

Singapore, March 22, 2022 – The sun is slowly setting over the Cambodian capital. So much has changed in the uber-fast developing city in the past 10 years since the Mad Monkey team opened the first hostel in the heart of Phnom Penh. High-rises mount over pagodas, SUVs are passing slower tuk-tuks, mobile phones have become the primary payment method. But some things remain the same — the charm and soul of the entire region, inviting young adventurers back to explore its colorful streets, dreamy beaches, and magical sites, now that the pandemic-stricken world has started showing signs of recovery.

Early evenings are a time when the music starts getting louder by the pool in Mad Monkey’s hostels and the party is slowly starting. But right now, there is a different buzz; the Mad Monkey team is hard at work preparing rapid re-openings of its existing locations, inviting domestic and international travelers back to its world. In the past decade, Mad Monkey has earned an iconic status in Southeast Asia and has opened hostels in 6 countries, delivering unforgettable, sustainable, and culturally immersive travel experiences to an ever-growing segment of young digital nomads & other experience-driven travelers who are hungry to travel, build friendships and experience new cultures.

But reopening seems like a small task amidst a much bigger ambition now turned into an accelerated action plan. The Mad Monkey team is poised to open up to 50 hostels in the next 3 years in Asia and Australia, cementing their status as the region’s biggest player in experience-driven hospitality.

To help achieve this goal, Mad Monkey has now partnered with EXS, a Singapore-based private equity firm focused on real estate businesses & platforms, through EPIC, which is focused on “New Economy Real Estate” across Asia including co-working, co-living, student housing, new hospitality, and modern fitness models. EPIC has successfully completed a US$4.6M investment into Mad Monkey to drive the company’s near-term growth and reinforce its position as Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator.

“Mad Monkey is a leading player in Southeast Asia and a great example of real estate’s continued shift towards ‘new economy’ business models that combine real estate, hospitality and technology to deliver unique experiences. The Mad Monkey team has organically built a business anchored on strong values, with social and environmental responsibility at its core, while staying aggressive with expansion plans, maintaining profitability, and developing a stable team over the past decade. We are proud and excited to enter the next phase of driving Mad Monkey’s growth across the region,” stated Eric Solberg, Chairman & CEO of EXS.

EXS plans to contribute its expertise in building leading Asian real estate platforms to Mad Monkey. As a specialized private equity firm with a track record of investing successfully across Southeast Asia, EXS is a strong believer in the growing trends driving new business models across real estate. Through EPIC, EXS plans to play a major role in helping the Mad Monkey team to accelerate growth and take advantage of the rapid return in tourism across the region, creating value for both Mad Monkey’s operations as well as the underlying real estate.

Mad Monkey was founded in 2011 by a team of passionate serial entrepreneurs—and, at the time, avid backpackers—Alex, Steve, Tom, and Oliver. Driven by the desire to have a good time while also doing good, Mad Monkey was built on providing superior customer experience, anchored on travelers’ passion points and ever-changing demands, while empowering local communities, through initiatives with a positive societal and environmental impact thus immersing travelers in these local cultures responsibly and sustainably.

Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia

Mad Monkey has always had a strong ESG focus, delivering 10 years’ worth of impactful community projects ranging from clean water initiatives to beach clean-ups and education projects. With the EPIC investment, the team will continue their strong focus on building local communities while enriching Mad Monkey as a global experience-based hospitality platform.

Moreover, supported through the crisis by EPIC, the team has used the downtime of Covid to innovate and digitalize, building a fully integrated tech platform with its own booking engine, utilizing marketing technology to create intuitive and personalized digital interactions with its customer at all stages of their trip.

“We are excited to transform how our guests interact with Mad Monkey at all times and provide effortless digital journeys to them, anchored on their preference and their need to manage their trips and experiences seamlessly with only their smartphone in their pocket,Steve Vaile, Chairman of Mad Monkey explains.

In line with digitization efforts, the team is preparing to launch the Mad Monkey Experience mobile app that will further enhance the holistic, culturally immersive experience for travelers and will ensure they can seamlessly book their travel between Mad Monkey hostels, while scheduling adventures, trips, and experiences, all in one app.

While providing better experiences to their customers, Mad Monkey’s digital platform will also enable the team to better understand and anticipate travelers’ needs and further enhance the real-time feedback loop to ensure agile and immediate adaptations to strategy and experience provided.

The pandemic has affected tourism more than any other industry and only businesses able to adapt to trends are surviving. Mad Monkey’s successful Golden Tickets program enables travelers to book a long-term flexible, risk-free travel plan they can use whenever they want.

New tech and new flexible travel models, added to Mad Monkey’s signature community and culture-focused experience, are the recipe for success the team is betting on to satisfy thousands of young travelers, eager to hop on the plane after a two-year Covid hiatus.

Community projects, Mad Monkey, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

As the business grows, Mad Monkey is also working with EXS and advisors to raise substantial further funds, both for continued expansion of the business as well as a dedicated property vehicle, with the ability to expand through both leasehold & freehold properties. Together with EXS & EPIC, Mad Monkey plans to continue establishing its position as one of the leading experience-driven hospitality players in the region.


About Mad Monkey

Mad Monkey is a leading Southeast Asia-based hostel operator, creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for travelers. The purpose of every Mad Monkey hostel is to provide the best customer experience in the most sustainable way for the benefit of the customers, team members, and the communities where we are located. More than just accommodation, Mad Monkey is the home-away-from-home base for travelers craving immersive cultural experiences, adventures, trips, educational activities, events and meeting like-minded individuals, and forming communities.

About EXS

Founded in 2007, EXS is an independent investment & fund management firm with offices in Hong Kong & Singapore and dedicated to the Asia Pacific region. EXS and its team are licensed & registered with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Estate Agents Authority, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, as well as the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

EXS partners with expert management teams across Asia with the goal of building high-valuation market leaders. EXS’ highly differentiated, counter-cyclical approach allows for closer long-term partnerships with management teams, longer-term multi-stage investments, and ultimately higher expected returns. Since its inception, the team has led over US$1 billion of successful private investments for institutional, family office, and high-net-worth investors. To date, all of EXS Capital’s deals have been strongly profitable for both investors and management.


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