Helsinki, Finland-based Bob W is a tech-driven hospitality provider that offers a smart and sustainable alternative to hotels and short-stay rentals. In a recent development, the company has raised €10M in its Seed round of funding.
The company’s first tranche of the Seed round was €4M that it raised last year is now extended, and an additional €6M majority equity has been raised.
The funding comes as a vote of confidence in Bob W’s concept: tech-powered short-stay apartments that combine hotel-like quality with the authenticity of individual rentals.
The round was led by byFounders VC and private equity firm Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi). Other investors who participated in this round include Kaamos, Superangel, United Angels, and NREP through its 2150 investment wing, which just launched with €200M to back sustainable urban technologies.
Funds for expansion
The raised capital will be invested in developing Bob W’s full-stack tech platform, growing the team, and expanding in existing and new markets across Europe.
The company also mentioned in the press release that throughout the pandemic, it has continued to expand as its contactless apartments have seen occupancy rates 3 times higher than hotels.
Niko Karstikko, CEO & co-founder of Bob W, says, “We will use the funds to scale our autonomous hospitality tech, create a new industry benchmark for digital experience, and launch in other European metropoles beyond Finland and Estonia, where we currently operate.”
3 times better occupancy than hotels
Due to the spread of coronavirus, the hospitality sector has suffered huge losses from the reduced demand for accommodation. However, Bob W has reached occupancy rates as high as 90 per cent at its existing properties in Estonia and Finland.
The company has seen the surge as it offers both business and leisure travellers “Ridiculously Clear Standard” as recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO).
Niko Karstikko adds, “Despite the pandemic, our revenue grew significantly in 2020 and our occupancy was 3 times that of hotels. We serviced thousands of guests and hundreds of companies. Our customer satisfaction is high as evidenced by our 93 Net Promoter Score (NPS) compared to the average of 37 for hotels. Last year, we also launched our own tech platform and grew our team from six employees to 30. We expect to double that by the summer.”
About Bob W
Founded in 2018 by Niko Karstikko and Sebastian Emberger, Bob W offers apartments to travellers with a consistent quality of a hotel and the authentic flair and affordability of a short-stay rental.
With its technology, the company provides its guests a five-star experience without meeting them face-to-face – something that has appealed to travellers during the pandemic.
The company claims that its full-stack tech platform including its app, chat-based customer service, contactless online check-in, and autonomous operations, minimises human error as well allows the company to craft the entire guest experience, from booking to check-out, at scale.
“We combine the best of both worlds in our sustainably operated properties, which are currently available in Finland and Estonia but are expanding across Europe and beyond,” said the company in a statement.
Bob W has also secured its first apartments in London, including a low-carbon, zero fossil-fuel, stand-alone building opening in winter 2021-2022. In addition to that, it is also opening multiple properties in Nordic markets, including its newest property in central Helsinki this spring, which was secured together with Sponda, the Finnish arm of The Blackstone Group.
Karstikko says, “Our guests love the local authenticity that comes to life in our apartments. For example, we source at least half our décor from local brands, artists, and manufacturers, much of which is also produced within a few hundred kilometers of each property. We do this to give guests an authentic experience, but to also be kind to the planet.”