Airbnb bashing not impacting success of the concierge business model.
A Paris based VC firm has led a $6.5m funding round into hospitality management service Hostmaker. Ventech were joined by existing investors DN Capital, who helped the company raise $1.1m back in September last year.
Hostmaker is a “full-service Airbnb management company that takes the hassle out of managing short term rentals for homeowners”, which has achieved 8 x growth since it was first launched in 2014, and now sits atop the pile of rival short-term rental agencies in terms of funding raised, with $9.3m in the bank.
80,000 people have now stayed in Hostmaker managed properties – that’s £10 million worth of bookings.
Hostmaker intends to use the funds to strengthen its position in the European markets it is already in; London, Paris, Barcelona, and Rome – it is already supporting 1,000 homestay hosts in these hugely popular destinations for Airbnb’ers – which means there are still a whopping 99,000 to play for.
Another area the funds will be spent is on developing the proprietary pricing algorithm, designed by “in-house yield experts”, and building out the UX and UI by improving the dashboard that its customers use to manage their letting – offering sophisticated breakdowns of performance vs earnings, guest reviews and maintenance.
The company say they are looking at potentially targeting another 25 cities around the world, as well as looking at an acquisition led strategy – following the lead of Airbnb itself, who recently picked up Luxury retreats, and Accor, the Hotel Chain that purchased One Fine Stay.
“Over the last few years, we have seen a fundamental change in how homeowners view their home as not just their private space but as a space to be shared, which allows them to monetize an asset and makes living in expensive European capitals more affordable”
So says Hostmaker founder and CEO Nakul Sharma, adding that “Regulatory changes in all cities have now made short-lets a category offering that is here to stay.”
It’s clear that London’s recent ruling that “entire home” listings will only be permitted 90 days of rental per calendar year, has not deterred Sharma.
Should it? There has undeniably been a backlash against Airbnb recently, with stories circulating about disastrous hosting experiences, an unfair tax loophole which allows the service to undercut hotel prices, and the scarcity of city properties available to rent or buy thanks to the explosion of properties being acquired purely to let out via Airbnb, thanks to the higher yields achievable.
All that said, it seems homeowners, landlords and the rest of us are voting with our feet and saying an overwhelming “yes” to the sharing economy.
It’s living, Jim, but not as we know it. Don’t expect any let up in sharing economy lettings.