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Domio just raised $12 million in Series A funding to build ‘apart hotels’ across the US

Hotels can be pricey, and travelers are often forced to leave their rooms for basic things, like food that doesn’t come from the minibar. Yet Airbnb accommodations, which have become the go-to alternative for travelers, can be highly inconsistent. Domio, a two-year-old, New York-based outfit, thinks there’s a third way: apartment hotels, or “apart hotels,” as the company is calling them. The idea is to build a brand that travelers recognize as upscale yet affordable, more tech friendly than boutique hotels and features plenty of square footage, which it expects will appeal to both families as well as companies that send teams of employees to cities and want to do it more economically. Domio has a host of competitors, if you’ll forgive the pun. Marriott International earlier this year introduced a branded home-sharing business called Tribute Portfolio Homes wherein it says it vets, outfits and maintains to hotel standards homes of its choosing. And Marriott is among a growing number of hotels to recognize that customers who stay in a hotel for a business trip or a family vacation might prefer a multi-bedroom apartment with hotel-like amenities. Property management companies have been raising funding left and right for the same reason. Among them: Sonder, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup offering “spaces built for travel and life” that, according to Crunchbase, has raised $135 million from investors, much of it this year; TurnKey, a six-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based home rental management company that has raised $72 million from investors, including via a Series D round that closed back in March; and Vacasa, a nine-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based vacation rental management company that manages more than 10,000 properties and which just this week closed on $64 million in fresh financing that brings its total funding to $207.5 million. That’s saying nothing of Airbnb itself, which has begun opening hotel-like branded apartment complexes that lease units to both long-term renters and short-term visitors in partnership with development partner Niido. Whether Domio can stand out from competitors remains to be seen, but investors are happy to provide it the financing to try. The company is today announcing it has…

Sick of managing your Airbnb? Vacasa raises $64M to do it for you

Airbnbing can be a ton of work. Between key pickups, tidying, and maintenance emergencies, renting out your place isn’t such a passive revenue source. But Vacasa equips owners with full-service vacation home management, including listings on top rental platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway, as well as local cleaners who come between guests. It now manages 10,600 vacation rental properties in over 16 countries. With the peer-to-peer housing market maturing and Airbnb looking to go public, private equity firms see an opportunity in who controls the end relationship with home owners like Vacasa does. So today the startup is announcing it’s raised $64 million in a Series B bridge round led by Riverwood, and joined by Level Equity, Assurant, and Newspring. The cash will fuel Vacasa’s expansion into real estate as it seeks to sell property to people who want to own and rent out a vacation home. Vacasa was impressively bootstrapped from 2009 until 2015. “I’ve always been passionate about vacation rentals. When traveling with friends or family, I love having common spaces to come together in” says CEO Eric Breon. He founded the company after owning a vacation cabin on the Washington Coast. He’d go up in the Spring, spend a weekend fixing up the place, it’d sit idle all summer, and then he’d have to spend another weekend closing it up. He considered a local property manager, but they massively underestimated how much he could earn off renting it out. So Breon built Vacasa to make it easy for home owners to earn the most money without a hassle. After years growing the business organically, Vacasa raised a $35 million series A from Level Equity in 2016, then $5 million more from Assurant. Then in fall of 2017, it raised an $103.5 million series B. Now it’s topping up that round with $64 million and a new valuation warranted by the startup’s growth this past year. That brings Vacasa to a total of $207.5 million in funding While that’s just a fraction of the over $4.4 billion Airbnb has raised. But Vacasa caters to a more upscale market that…

Our 3 favorite startups from Urban-X’s 4th demo day

Urban-X, the urban-tech startup accelerator backed by MINI and early-stage urban-tech fund Urban.Us, hosted at its Brooklyn HQ a demo day today for its fourth cohort of companies. The seven presenting companies offered solutions to issues plaguing modern cities, including toll-road pricing, energy and construction management and even the inefficiencies of modern cycling helmets. In a day that offered an impressive display of entrepreneurial talent, here are three of the companies that really stood out to us. Rentlogic In hopes of improving landlord transparency, Rentlogic uses years of city government data to create objective algorithmic letter ratings for apartment buildings. As CEO Yale Fox pointed out, despite city-dwellers spending half our paychecks on rent, urban housing hasn’t seen the same rating systems that we use to guide decisions on where we eat, what car we buy or what shows we binge. Rentlogic allows apartment hunters to screen buildings before signing a lease and avoid committing to unhealthy conditions or an absentee landlord. Rentlogic partners with landlords looking to obtain a stamp of quality for potential renters, offering an added inspection feature that allows them to hang a letter rating outside their building. The company’s roster of customers already includes Blackstone and Phipps Houses, the largest for-profit and nonprofit landlords in the world, respectively.    What stands out with Rentlogic is its ability to scale. Though currently only in New York City, the same data used in New York presumably exists across all major U.S. markets, and Rentlogic has minimized the cost of entering new cities by building out the back-end infrastructure required to ingest and analyze the data. From a demand perspective, as renters defer to Rentlogic for quality assurance and more competitors hang “A” ratings outside their buildings, landlords will face more pressure to maintain the same offering.  The idea hit home for a born-and-bred New Yorker with my own set of landlord horror stories, and the first thing I did when I left was look up my building on Rentlogic. Campsyte Most companies wish they had mega-campuses or “motherships” where they could offer employees access to sprawling outdoor working areas. For companies based in urban areas, offering…

Housing startup Bungalow raises $14 million Series A round led by Khosla Ventures

Moving to a new city can be tough for a number of reasons, but what’s arguably hardest about moving is a competitive and expensive housing market, and lack of a pre-existing social support network. That’s the problem startup Bungalow is trying to solve. Bungalow, which just raised a $14 million Series A round led by Khosla Ventures with participation from Founders Fund, Atomic VC, Cherubic Ventures and Wing Ventures, offers people relatively affordable places to live with others who have been vetted by Bungalow’s platform. As part of the round, Keith Rabois of Khosla will join Bungalow’s board of directors. Bungalow also raised a $50 million debt facility to fuel its home growth costs. Bungalow had previously raised a $7 million seed round. Bungalow, which joins the likes of WeLive, OpenDoor, Common, Roam and so many others, aims to be cheaper than getting your own studio or one-bedroom apartment, and offer a better experience than finding a roommate via Craigslist. Bungalow works with homeowners to lease their homes as the master tenant for three years at time. From there, Bungalow rents out the property on a room-by-room basis while guaranteeing occupancy to the homeowners. “There aren’t as many families that are looking for these four, five, six-bedroom homes and so the incremental additional cost for those additional bedrooms is not commensurate with the individual rate at which we can lease out those individual bedrooms,” Bungalow co-founder and CEO Andrew Collins told me. “And so we were able to therefore basically create value out of that and then with scale that margin that we’re able to create within those given homes in an incredibly profitable and exciting coupling.” For the renter, Bungalow says it’s about 30-40 percent cheaper than a studio. Depending on the market, of course, the prices can vary. Bungalow also furnishes shared common spaces, provides utilities, Wi-Fi and housekeeping in the monthly rental cost. In addition to what’s provided inside the space, Bungalow hosts monthly events for members in its properties to meet each other within a given market. Bungalow currently operates 200 properties across seven markets, including the San…

Lyvly scores $4.6M for its members-based shared living and rental platform

Lyvly, a London-based startup that offers what might best be described as a members-based shared living and rental service, has raised $4.6 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Mosaic Ventures, while Greg Marsh, who co-founded Onefinestay, has joined the burgeoning company as chairman and investor. The latest take on how to improve the experience for “generation rent” in sprawling cities like London, Lyvly is at its most basic a two-sided marketplace that helps renters find high-quality shared living accommodations and landlords find good tenants. However, it goes far beyond simply matching supply and demand for house shares. Not only are properties fully managed — including providing tenant services such as managing household bills, replacing consumables and cleaning — but at the heart of it all is the Lyvly community platform, which treats Lyvly renters as members within a network of “like-minded individuals who share a passion for shared living.” And, as wishy-washy as that sounds, there is no doubt that city living is often devoid of community, and in London especially it can be difficult to meet new people. “Renting is often not a pleasant experience, and living in cities can be lonely and stressful,” says co-founder and CEO Philip Laney. “Moving into your new apartment, sorting out furniture and utilities, and then trying to connect with busy people around you all whilst working long hours in a transient economy are frustrations many of us have experienced. We are confronting three problems for renters in the city: their desire for community, convenience and affordability.” Laney says the current way people rent shared accommodations is also painful for landlords, who don’t have consistency and control over the quality of their tenants, and often pay high fees to a middle-person and struggle with vacancy rates. “We provide them guaranteed income with no voids and no fees, and a genuinely positive social impact,” he says. For renters, Lyvly operates a little like a members club. Once you’ve applied to join the community, you have a call with a member of the Lyvly team to learn more about your “life stage…

Rentlogic lands millions to grade NYC real estate for renters and landlords

A company called Rentlogic has raised $2.4 million to take the guesswork out of determining whether that cheap, beautiful New York apartment is actually a deathtrap wrapped in a brownstone’s clothing. Renting in New York is murder already, but using Rentlogic, apartment hunters can figure out if their new housing situation could actually kill them (or put them at significant risk of bodily or property harm… or even minor inconveniences). Investors in the company’s seed round include the Urban-X accelerator (which is a partnership between Urban.US and Mini); Urban.Us, an investor in urban technologies; the millennial-entrepreneur-focused investment firm, Kairos; and Seagram beverage company scion Edgar Bronfman, Jr. Rentlogic already provides a grade for every building in New York — more than 1 million properties — but has added an inspection feature that it charges landlords for so that they can display a rating outside of their building. It’s like the city’s scoring grades for restaurants in neighborhoods. “We grade every single property in New York,” says Yale Fox, the company’s founder and chief executive. “We have inspected 103 properties. Everybody is really happy with it and everybody is going to re-sign and we’re going to start scaling this out to every property in New York.” Rentlogic scores buildings on a combination of around 150 different variables, including the ability to provide continuous heat and hot water, and whether or not a building has evidence of bed bugs or rodents. The looks of the building doesn’t matter, Fox says. It’s more about the conditions of the building. “It’s the same way a building would get LEED-certified,” says Fox. “It’s a good way for one landlord to differentiate their property as higher quality than a competitor’s in the same neighborhood.” Launched initially in 2013, Rentlogic was born out of Fox’s own tragic experience as a new renter in New York. The Canadian transplant (and the son of a family of real estate professionals and small scale landlords) had come to the city for a new job and was looking at an apartment in the West Village. After shelling out a $12,000 deposit for first month’s…

6 Property Resolutions to Make and Stick to in 2018

It is important for buyers to invest wisely in 2018 due to the volatile market. Whether you aim to buy a home, an office, or a property for investment, here are some property resolutions one should make and stick to, this year. 1. Get your credit score back on track It is essential for buyers […] The post 6 Property Resolutions to Make and Stick to in 2018 appeared first on SmallBizClub.

Real Estate Expenses During Pre-Acquisition

There are various real estate expenditures that are deductible to the corporation and others that are capitalized or allocated to inventory. In this FAQ, we will discuss the real estate expenses that are deductible during the pre-acquisition phase as an operating expense to the corporation in the fiscal year that expenditures were incurred. There are […] The post Real Estate Expenses During Pre-Acquisition appeared first on SmallBizClub.

5 Ways Business Owners Can Make Money with Real Estate

Real estate has made more millionaires in the United States than any other business. You don’t require a degree or any experience to begin. You only need a desire to learn and a strong work ethic. In this article, we’re going to look at five ways business owners can make money with real estate. Long-term […] The post 5 Ways Business Owners Can Make Money with Real Estate appeared first on SmallBizClub.

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