Ukio, a premium apartment rental platform for Europe’s ‘flexible workforce’, raises $28M • TechCrunch

Ukio, a short-term rental platform for furnished apartments aimed at the “flexible workforce,” has raised 27 million euros ($28 million) in a Series A funding round. The cash infusion represents 17 million euros in equity and 10 million in equity. euro debt, and follows some 14 months after the Spanish company announced a €9 million funding round.

Founded by Barcelona in 2020, Ukio targets a very specific subset of society — one that doesn’t like to be tied to a fixed location, either in their personal or professional lives. With the remote working revolution continuing apace, Ukio wants to offer professionals the comforts of home with the added perks and flexibilities of a hotel, with each apartment including a concierge and reception area, while some accommodations also include weekly housekeeping and sheets / towels replacement.

In addition, the price of each property includes all utilities (eg broadband and electricity), taxes and everything you would normally get with a hotel night. All the tenant has to worry about is a single monthly recurring payment that they make directly to Ukio, which handles all the maintenance and management behind the scenes.

The company says the average length of stay in a Ukio-sourced apartment is four to five months, although it supports stays between one and 11 months. It is worth noting that guests initially book for a fixed period of time, but can extend their stay through Ukio’s online platform.

Supply

As for how Ukio sources its apartments, co-founder Stanley Fourteau says they adopt a “multi-channel supply strategy” targeting individual property owners, property developers and family offices. Ukio typically only accepts seven to 10-year leases with property owners, meaning they are obligated to stay on the platform for that length of time — but to protect against underperforming properties, Ukio only has a one-year commitment. meaning he only has to give 45 days notice after the first year. However, he says he 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 TechCrunch. “This data-driven sourcing strategy, combined with local property knowledge on the ground, ensures that when Ukio launches in a new city, we are able to quickly and efficiently acquire a range of high-quality apartments.”

While Ukio’s strategy starts with a more outbound approach, over time existing multi-property owners often increase their presence on the Ukio platform, according to Fourteau.

“As the brand becomes more familiar and trusted in our markets, we’re seeing a steady increase in existing owners providing more and more of the offer, as well as new owners wanting to work with us,” he said. “In cities where we live for more than a year, the number of Ukio inbound leads averages about 60% compared to 40% for outbound.”

Ukio co-founders Jeremy and Stanley Fourteau

Target market

It seems that Ukio could fulfill two main use cases. A young professional, for example, who can work from wherever they want, might want to try out a new city before committing to a longer-term rental – Ukio would serve that purpose quite well. Alternatively, anyone who has found a new job in a stable office could use Ukio as a stopgap until they find a more suitable long-term residence. A fully furnished pad with all the trimmings is much more appealing than a hotel or even an AirBnb property that is usually not suitable for long-term residences.

“Finding and renting an apartment for a month or more is still incredibly complicated and time-consuming for today’s consumers who are used to doing everything and anything digitally,” said Ukio co-founder Jeremy Fourteau. “Ukio was created to overcome this challenge.”

The main appeal for renters is that Ukio essentially shields them from the hassles and limitations of traditional rental models. But this, of course, is expensive, with the cheapest property starting at around €1,750 a month and ranging up to €5,000. Since the start of the year, Ukio said it has grown revenue sevenfold year-on-year, with a 96% occupancy rate across the 400-plus properties it currently has listed.

The Ukio platform

Currently, Ukio is most active in Barcelona and Madrid, where it claims 210 and 125 apartment rentals 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, Dublin, among others.

And that expansion is what Ukio’s new Series A investment will essentially fund, while it said it’s also working on a B2B offering for businesses growing their international footprint.

Ukio’s raise comes as several similar platforms have raised significant rounds of funding. Birmingham, Alabama-based Landing recently secured $125 million in a Series C funding round, while San Francisco-based Zumper raised $30 million as it doubles down on flexible short-term rentals. And last year, New York-based Blueground raised $140 million.

Ukio, for its part, is all about Europe and will remain 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.

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