Ukiyo, a short-term rental platform for furnished apartments aimed at the “flexible workforce,” has raised €27 million ($28 million) in a Series A funding round. The cash injection represents 17 million euros of equity and 10 million euros of debt and follows about 14 months after the Spanish company announced a seed round of €9 million of funding.
Founded in Barcelona in 2020, Ukio targets a very specific subset of society – one that doesn’t like being tied down to a fixed location, both in their personal and professional lives. S a revolution in remote work Moving quickly, Ukio wants to provide professionals with the comforts of home with the added benefits and flexibility of a hotel, with each suite including a concierge and reception, while some properties also include weekly cleaning and linen/towel changes.
In addition, the price of each property includes all utilities (eg broadband and electricity), taxes and everything you would normally get with a hotel stay. All the tenant has to worry about is a one-off monthly recurring payment that they make directly to Ukio, which handles all the behind-the-scenes maintenance and management.
The company says the average length of stay in a Ukio apartment is four to five months, although it supports stays between one and 11 months. It is worth noting that guests book initially for a certain period of time, but can extend their stay through Ukio’s online platform.
In terms of how Ukio sources its apartments, co-founder Stanley Furto says they adopt a “multi-pronged 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 required to stay on the platform for that period – but to protect against underperforming properties, Ukio only has a one-year commitment, which means he only has to give 45 days notice after the first year. However, it is said to rarely need to do this.
“Ukio uses proprietary tools to source high-quality, off-market apartments based on strict criteria in prime locations in each city,” Furto told TechCrunch. “This data-driven sourcing strategy, combined with local real estate 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. “
Although Ukio’s strategy begins with a more outbound approach, over time, existing multi-property landlords often increase their presence on the Ukio platform, according to Fourteau.
“As the brand becomes more familiar and trusted in our markets, we are seeing a steady increase in existing landlords providing more and more supplies, as well as new landlords looking to partner with us,” he said. “In cities where we’ve lived for more than a year, the number of inbound Ukio leads averages around 60% compared to 40% for outbound.”
Ukio seems to be able to fulfill two main use cases. A young professional, for example, who can work from anywhere may want to try out a new city before committing to a longer-term rental – Ukio will serve this purpose reasonably well. Alternatively, anyone who has found a new job in a stationary office can use Ukio as a brake until they find more suitable long-term housing. A fully furnished apartment with all the trimmings is much more attractive than a hotel or even an AirBnb property, which are usually not suitable for long-term housing.
“Finding and renting an apartment for a month or more is still incredibly complicated and time-consuming for modern consumers who are used to doing anything and everything digitally,” said Ukio co-founder Jeremy Furto. “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 comes at a premium, with the cheapest property starting at around €1,750 a month and going up to €5,000. Since the start of the year, Ukio said it has seen sevenfold year-on-year revenue growth, with a 96% occupancy rate across the more than 400 properties currently listed.
So far, Ukio is most active in its native Barcelona and Madrid, where it claims 210 and 125 apartments for rent, respectively. But it has also expanded to Lisbon (Portugal) and Berlin (Germany), with Paris and Milan on the horizon in the coming months, followed by London, Dublin and more.
And that expansion is what Ukio’s new Series A investment will essentially fund, while it is also said to be working on a B2B offering for businesses growing their international footprint.
Ukio’s raise comes after several similar platforms have raised significant rounds of funding. Birmingham, Alabama-based Landing recently secured $125 million in a series C funding roundwhile San Francisco’s Zumper raised $30 million like him doubles down on flexible short-term rentals. And last year, based in New York Blueground raised a whopping $140 million.
Ukio, for its part, is all about Europe and will remain so “for the foreseeable future,” Furto 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.