Ukio, a platform for the short-term rental of furnished apartments aimed at the “flexible workforce”, has raised €27 million ($28 million) in a Series A funding round. The cash injection consists of €17 million in equity and €10 million in debt, and comes some 14 months after the Spanish company announced a €9 million seed funding round.
Founded in Barcelona in 2020, Ukio targets a very specific sub-group of society – a group that does not like to be tied to a fixed location, both in their personal and professional lives. As the remote work revolution continues, Ukio aims to offer professionals the comforts of home with the added benefits and flexibility of a hotel, with each apartment having a concierge and reception area, while some units also include weekly housekeeping and bed linen/towels. offer. replacement.
In addition, the price of each accommodation includes all utilities (e.g. broadband and electricity), taxes and everything you would normally get with a nightly rate in a hotel. All the renter has to worry about is a single monthly recurring payment that they make directly to Ukio, who takes care of all behind-the-scenes maintenance and management.
The company says the average length of stay in a Ukio apartment is four to five months, though it supports stays of one to 11 months. It’s worth noting that guests initially book for a set period of time, but they can extend their stay through Ukio’s online platform.
In terms of how Ukio occupies its apartments, co-founder Stanley Fourteau says they operate a “multiple delivery strategy” that targets individual property owners, real estate developers and family offices. Ukio typically only accepts seven to ten year leases with the property owners, meaning they are required to stay on the platform for that length of time. only need to cancel 45 days after the first year. However, it says it rarely needs to do this.
“Ukio uses proprietary tools to source high-quality off-market apartments, based on strict criteria in prime locations in each city,” Fourteau told gotechbusiness.com. “This data-driven supply-acquisition strategy, combined with on-site local real estate knowledge, ensures that the moment Ukio launches in a new city, we are able to quickly and efficiently acquire a pipeline of high-quality apartments.”
While Ukio’s strategy starts with a more outgoing approach, over time, existing landlords of multiple properties often increase their presence on the Ukio platform, Fourteau said.
“As the brand becomes better known and trusted in our markets, we are seeing a steady increase in existing hosts providing more and more offerings, as well as new hosts willing to work with us,” he said. “In cities where we’ve been live for over a year, Ukio’s inbound lead rate averages around 60% compared to 40% for outbound.”
It looks like Ukio could fulfill two core use cases. For example, a young professional who can work wherever they want might want to try out a new city before committing to a longer-term rental – Ukio would serve that purpose pretty well. Alternatively, anyone who has been given a new job at a permanent brick-and-mortar office can use Ukio as a stopgap until they find a more suitable long-term home. A fully furnished apartment with all the trimmings is much more attractive than a hotel, or even an AirBnb property, which are usually not suitable for long-term residences.
“Finding and renting an apartment for a month or more is still incredibly complex and time consuming for modern consumers accustomed to doing anything and everything digitally,” said Jeremy Fourteau, co-founder of Ukio. “Ukio was created to meet this challenge.”
The main appeal for renters is that Ukio essentially protects them from the hassles and limitations of traditional rental models. But of course that comes at a price, with the cheapest home starting at around €1,750 per month and rising to €5,000. Since the start of the year, Ukio said it has seen sevenfold revenue growth year over year, with 96% occupancy for the more than 400 properties it currently has listed.
At the moment, Ukio is most active in its native Barcelona and Madrid, where it claims 210 and 125 rental apartments respectively. But it has also expanded to Lisbon (Portugal) and Berlin (Germany), with Paris and Milan on the horizon for the coming months, followed by London and Dublin, among others.
This expansion is what will essentially fund Ukio’s new Series A investment, while it said it’s also working on a B2B offering for companies expanding their international footprint.
Ukio’s raise comes as several similar platforms have raised significant rounds of funding. Landing, based in Birmingham, Alabama, recently raised $125 million in a Series C financing round, while San Francisco-based Zumper raised $30 million by doubling down on flexible short-term rentals. Settled in New York last year Blueground raised a hefty $140 million.
Ukio, for its part, is all about Europe and will continue to be so “for the foreseeable future,” Fourteau said. The company’s Series A round was led by Felix Capital, with participation from Kreos Capital, Breega, Partech, Heartcore, Bynd and a host of angel investors.