With over four million listings across more than 65,000 cities worldwide, Airbnb has not just upended the global hospitality industry -- it has inadvertently created an industry within an industry: demand for services that help hosts manage their properties efficiently and professionally.
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.
To recap, the startup is present in five cities -- London, Paris, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong -- where it provides all manner of services that an Airbnb host could need for management. That could include cleaning, laundry, or check-in and out services.
"Staying at an Airbnb is always a great experience but sometimes it is not as professional as we’d like it to be. Sometimes it is the small things, like waiting for someone to let you in or an apartment that isn’t really that clean," CEO Alex Limpert told TechCrunch when it first launched.
That continues to be the vision. The company currently manages over 600 properties and, to date, it has helped hosts with more than 20,000 stays from Airbnb guests. Talking to us this week, Limpert said the new money will be used to grow the tech team, double down on existing cities and expand into new ones.
To take a running jump, the startup has acquired a smaller rival. Three-year-old Easy Rental operates in London and Paris and its addition will help GuestReady grow in those cities.
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.
"We were excited about Amsterdam very early on, still in 2016. When we launched, we deliberately opened a few markets at once so that we could see which markets gain the best traction and then double down on them. In Amsterdam, demand for our services was very limited so that we didn’t reach the planned traction and decided to focus our limited resources on the markets that were doing best," Limpert explained.
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.
- This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.