GuestReady, a Swiss PropTech startup in the urban short term rental management space, has closed $3 million in seed funding in order to expand its business to new markets.
Currently operating in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, the startup says it plans to utilize the fresh capital to reach 5 more cities by Summer 2018. They also announced the acquisition of Easy Rental Services, a former competitor in London and Paris. Initially started as an on-demand platform for individual activities like cleaning, laundry, and managing the check-in and check-out of guests, GuestReady now focuses exclusively on fully managed properties that they advertise on short-let platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, and Booking, among others.
The round — which is described as seed stage — by was led by Impulse VC, the Russian fund that is backed by billionaire Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, with participation from Australia’s Xponova and Boost Heroes, a VC led by Lastminute founder Fabio Cannavale. Existing backers Swiss Founders Fund and Senn and Partner — which contributed a $700,000 raise last year — were among others in the round.
GuestReady’s main focus over the past year, besides bolstering its presence across its markets, has been to develop a product that provides the property owners full visibility and control over the calendars and financials of their properties. It syncs real time with sales-side platforms like Airbnb, and provides a lean logistical setup that allows it to minimize the turnaround time between guests. GuestReady takes a percentage of the earnings from the apartments as a management fee, or guarantees a specific income per month based on a predictive model developed by GuestReady.
Alexander Limpert, GuestReady Co-Founer and CEO stated: “The success of our clients and the satisfaction of their guests is of prime importance to us. In order to provide an even better service to our clients, we are also very happy to announce that this Summer, we have completed the acquisition of Easy Rental Services. Since its launch three years ago, the company has developed operational excellence in its home markets London and Paris.”
Beyond geographical expansion, GuestReady is also planning a move further into the B2B space by building a product backend to automate and streamline property management tasks. The appeal of GuestReady’s model is more concretely echoed in Airbnb’s recent announcement of the “Select” programme, which is targeted at wealthy travellers who are more particular about things like sheets and working hairdryers. In the meantime, it is clear that GuestReady has already built a headstart on the enormous task of closing the gap between the vacation rental industry and traditional hotels.
Despite progress — and apparent profitability in two cities already — GuestReady has learned that not all markets are ripe for its wares. Earlier this year it exited Amsterdam, which was one of six initial cities when it went live.
Despite that setback, the immediate goal is to open in one new city before the end of the year, with more planned for 2018.
“We see good growth opportunities in Southern Europe and in more developed urban areas in Asia,” the GuestReady CEO added.