A hospitality management service for Airbnb’ers who want to outsource the hassle of short-term-letting their homes has raised $1.1m of funding in a round led by Initial Capital, a group of serial entrepreneurs, with existing investors DN Capital and DSG Consumer Partners also joining the round.
Hostmaker was founded by hospitality professional Nakul Sharma, who has worked with hotel brands including Sheraton, LeMeridien and Intercontinental Hotels, and who is also an experienced Airbnb host.
Sharma says he was inspired to found Hostmaker after using Airbnb to find places to stay around Europe whilst travelling with his wife, before deciding to host himself when he bought a property in London, and realising that “hosting Airbnb guests is a lot of hard work, so why not make it easier for other hosts?”
The firm say they can provide “hotel-standard cleaning services, linen rental and welcome packs for arriving guests as well as pricing optimisation, guest communication and even design services and or maintenance for Airbnb hosts.”
Hostmaker was founded in late 2013 and launched its service in London in July 2014, before adding Barcelona and Rome in April 2015 and Paris in February this year.
The site features a free pricing service so can users can calculate how much they stand to make financially, and provides a professional service that the firm believe can turn any Airbnb host into a “superuser”, somebody who nearly always achieves five star ratings, “in no time”.
Additionally, Hostmaker operates a 24/7 in person meet-and-greet service, dynamic pricing and channel management, interior design services and professional photography.
The team boasts 30+ years of combined hospitality experience, a team of 50+ people, and more than 50,000 completed rentals to date.
Says Sharma about the funding; “We have been encouraged by the very positive feedback we’ve received form the Airbnb host community about our services. Hostmaker is now making hosting easy for nearly a thousand hosts across 4 major European cities, and we now have additional cities in the pipeline.”
“We’ll also continue to build our talented hospitality operations team.”
Lawrence Barclay from DN Capital commented “We are delighted to increase our investment in Hostmaker which is the category leader in the hospitality management space. We are excited about this next phase in Hostmaker’s growth.”
Alvaro Alvarez del Rio of Initial Capital said: “in a rapidly growing segment of the hospitality technology sector, we believe Hostmaker’s uncompromising customer service and its independence from external service providers will make it the go-to partner for hosts who want to benefit from short-term lets without all the hassle.”
It’s certainly a growing market; the UK sharing market as a whole is projected to be worth £9bn in the next decade according to research from JP Morgan, whilst Hostmaker itself says it is growing at a rate of 400% year on year.
The company has also recently introduced a new account management system for hosts and created a design service to help hosts stand out on Airbnb’s listings pages, and was also named at number 20 of Startups.co.uk’s list of the UK’s 100 top start-ups, and one of Forbes’ 5 British Businesses to watch.
Despite rumours that London is planning a clampdown on Airbnb rentals, and a possible backlash from the hotels market, it seems Initial Capital, an investor in seed and early stage technology companies with a focus on games, consumer services and technology enablers, who describe themselves as “not a traditional VC fund – we’re a group of serial entrepreneurs who invest our own money and actively partner with world class teams to build category winners”, DN Capital and DSG are betting on the boom in the sharing economy to continue.
in 2015 Airbnb is estimated to have completed 80 million nights bookings, double the amount of bookings made in 2014. According to Reuters, Airbnb claims to have more than 1.5m listings, in 34,000 cities across 190 countries. Paris has more listing than any other city. According to Crunch Base, The company has raised $2.39bn dollars of funding over 8 separate rounds.
London’s homeowners certainly seem to be following their mayor’s instructions, throwing open their doors and declaring themselves “open for business”, and Hostmaker may well be in the right place at the right time to help them, and the rest of Europe, keep sharing and caring.