The Spain-based real estate startup, Ukio reported its $9million seed round on 24th September.
The firm raised the amount from leading European financiers, with plans to expand to over 700 flats in 6 continental capitals by next year. The following cities on the table are Lisbon, London, then Berlin.
Ukio discovered the way via the ever-growing maze of house rental competitors plus authorities when remote work became the trend. It provides one-month and longer leases in prominent cities, providing a superior turnkey experience collaborating with local homeowners. The preliminary results were positive.
Ukio was formed at the beginning of the previous year. It has already risen to over 100 flats across Barcelona and Madrid, with a 95 percent occupancy rate.
As per co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Fourteau, his firm's guests are equally divided between two use cases.
The one half composes new long-term inhabitants who have found local work opportunities and will probably settle down permanently. So far, this class has stayed for six months or more.
Fourteau, a long-serving director at Airbnb, believes that the normalization of remote and scattered work has attracted an increasing number of digital nomads searching for a short-term lease. Until yet, this portion of the customer base has stayed for two or three months. He referenced an analysis as evidence of the potential market, stating that remote workers might account for 31 percent of all workers by the finish of this year.
Ukio, which means "living in the moment," is far from the only firm striving for this shifting population.
Fourteau noted that Ukio rents, equips, and administers apartments to control the complete customer experience.
Their vertically integrated framework enables them to modernize supply for sites like Airbnb, much like big hotel chains do for Booking.com. His inspiration came from his period at Airbnb, where people asked for long-term rentals that never matched into the platform's business model. The CEO claims that people snap the most attractive long-term leases in a town before listing on Airbnb or take the pictures from the website even before the request fulfills. Homes managed by Ukio, on either side, "is a part of this group for several years to come."
Ukio selects potential flats using a 200-point system and only deals with the proprietors of the top ones in prominent areas. Unlike companies like Sentral, which use entire houses, most of these are isolated apartments, allowing for a wider variety all over a city.
In contrast to Blueground and others' functionalized techniques, each unit receives its own design. Although many of its rivals are mainly portals with hosts supplying and controlling their units, Ukio has its property management team. It's also focusing on Europe at first when many of its major rivals concentrate on the United States. In terms of technology, it employs a dynamic pricing mechanism to assist in maintaining high occupancy levels. It also has an internal layout tool and portfolio to minimize setup and recruitment expenses.
Ukio confronts the possibility of strengthening regional rules and COVID-related constraints as a corporation whose essential product is tangible. Fourteau recognized the problems but stated that Ukio's strategy is better adapted to deal with them because of the high volume of long-term residents.
In this round, the main question appears to be Ukio's multiple well-funded opponents, who will undoubtedly change their models frequently to lure the future remote workers.
As a result, the large-scale seed round is framed by the necessity for rapid scalability. Breega, a French investment fund, led the round, which also included Heartcore and Partech. Angel investors such as Inaki Berenguer, the creator of Coverwallet, and Avi Meir, the owner of the Travelperk, took part.