Singapore-based eco-tourism company Big Tiny, has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding, gives the business a valuation cap of $22.5 million.

Big Tiny said in a statement, the round was led by a prominent businessman, Koh Boon Hwee, along with Phillip Private Equity, GPPC Capital Limited, and Ascend Angels.

This latest funding will be used to build on Big Tiny’s momentum, fuelling further growth in Australia as well as an anticipated expansion into the New Zealand market in 2022, it said.

“From the start, our vision has been to build a sustainable tourism business that both changes and challenges the holiday accommodation landscape,” said Big Tiny Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Adrian Chia.

Founded in 2017, Big Tiny designs and manufactures tiny homes onshore and has two bases in Australia – Sydney and Melbourne – where the company assembles the houses and then deploys them in partnership with host landowners.

City dwellers looking for a post-lockdown break can book a tiny house stay through Big Tiny’s accommodation platform, Tiny Away. In 2019 there were 45 tiny houses in Tiny Away’s portfolio in Australia, mainly New South Wales and Victoria, but this has doubled in 2021 to nearly 100 across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and recently Tasmania.

“We have been impressed by Big Tiny’s growth, which has enjoyed strong demand despite widespread industry disruption. To have grown a company during the pandemic is incredible and speaks to the value they deliver to their customers,” said Koh Boon Hwee.

“Their eco-credentials also really stand out. Investors, particularly in the travel and tourism space, are increasingly realising that you can marry good economics with being good for the environment,” he added.

According to the statement, Big Tiny is exploring the semi-automation of its manufacturing process to further improve production capacity and capability. The company will also look to scale up capabilities across building, sales, marketing, land sourcing and management.

“Big Tiny is planning to open an additional 300 tiny houses over the next year in Australia and New Zealand, and we are constantly engaged in research and development to improve the sustainable technology that’s integrated into our dwellings,” Chia added.

Big Tiny was the brainchild of co-founder, Chia, who was inspired by a holiday to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road which allowed him to escape the grind of city life in a tranquil rural setting.

Returning home, Chia realised there was a huge opportunity to use the tiny house concept to help landowners open their beautiful natural surrounds to a huge market of city dwellers keen to escape. Chia developed the concept further with friends, Jeff Yeo and Dave Ng, and the trio brought together their varied expertise in material science, branding, and marketing to launch Big Tiny.

According to the statement, over the past 12 months, Big Tiny’s tiny house portfolio has doubled and for the first half of 2021, it saw year-on-year revenue growth of almost 260 percent. The business has also increased its headcount in 2021, now employing approximately 30 people across Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia.

“The tiny house market is well and truly booming. We can’t wait to grow our footprint in New South Wales and Victoria, and further expand in South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania – eventually crossing the ditch into New Zealand,” said Big Tiny Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Dave Ng.

Big Tiny noted when Australia’s national lockdown restrictions eased in June 2020, the company was back with a bang, and the story has been similar since restrictions eased in New South Wales and Victoria in recent months.

“When national restrictions eased in June 2020, in that month alone we saw a 200 percent increase in the number of bookings. At the end of 2020, we saw a 660 percent increase in bookings compared to the first pre-COVID quarter of the year. In Victoria, we saw a huge increase in bookings after their second lockdown. Our Serenity Abode tiny house in the Yarra Valley had an increase of around 40 per cent compared to pre-COVID,“ said Big Tiny Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Yeo.

According to Big Tiny, the opportunities for potential tiny home buyers were not being missed either, with enquiries from people interested in owning a tiny home jumping by as much as 30 per cent in the last half of 2020.

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