Turnkey apartment startup Ukio raises $ 9 million in seed funding
Barcelona: Start of turnkey apartment rental Ukio has announced that it has raised $ 9 million in large-scale seed funding.
The round was led by French venture capital firm Breega, along with a number of other notable European investors including Heartcore and Partech, as well as angels such as Coverwall and Iñaki Berenguer founder and Travelperk founder Avi Meir. .
Having only been founded in January 2020, Ukio – which means “live in the moment” in Japanese – intends to quickly grow from 100 apartments to over 700 units in six European capitals, including Lisbon, London and Berlin.
Offering “artificially designed” rentals with minimum stays of one month, Ukio strives to target digital nomads who stay on average two to three months and are looking for something beyond what a typical short term rental. can offer.
Its co-founder and CEO, Stanley Fourteau, is a former regional director and head of growth at Airbnb, which offers more medium and long-term rental options on its platform.
According to Fourteau, Ukio has maintained a 95% occupancy rate in Madrid and Barcelona despite the pandemic, with half of its tenants staying six months or more when looking for permanent accommodation after moving to the area for a job at proximity.
Although Ukio enters an increasingly crowded market with booking platforms offering flexible rental options [one month or longer], including Blueground, Sonder, Airbnb, Zeus Living and Sentral, Fourteau is convinced that his startup will stand out from its competitors.
He told TechCrunch: “Ukio rents, furnishes and manages properties to oversee the entire customer experience. Our vertically integrated approach allows us to professionalize the offer of platforms like Airbnb [a peer-to-peer marketplace], in the same way that global hotel chains are professionalizing the provisioning of Booking.com.
In comparison to other platforms, Fourteau said apartments operated by Ukio will be “part of their communities for many years to come” and that the relationship with its owners will be crucial for the growth of the startup.
He continued, “We enter into seven to ten year lease contracts with full tenant management. These agreements optimize their yields, avoid vacancy rates and reduce management costs.
“Ukio provides them with guaranteed returns and offers a hassle-free solution. As a company, we now receive more incoming requests from owners to work with Ukio than targeted contacts, with a strong supply pipeline for growth next year, ”added Fourteau.
On the offer acquisition side, Ukio selects its apartments in prime locations using an extensive 200-point process to ensure consistent quality across its long-term rental offering.
The startup also uses dynamic pricing to keep occupancy rates high, along with an in-house design system and catalog designed to keep installation and integration costs down.