Ukioa short-term furnished apartment rental platform for the “flexible workforce,” raised €27 million ($28 million) in a Series A funding round. The cash injection constitutes 17 million euros in equity and 10 million euros in debt, and comes some 14 months after the Spanish company announced a funding round of 9 million euros of financing.
Founded in Barcelona in 2020, Ukio targets a very specific subset of society – those who don’t like to be tied to a fixed place, either in their personal or professional life. With the remote work revolution Continuing at a steady pace, Ukio aims to offer professionals the comforts of home with the added benefits and flexibilities of a hotel, with each apartment including concierge and reception, while some properties also include weekly cleaning service and replacement of sheets / towels.
On top of that, the price of each property includes all utilities (eg broadband and electricity), taxes and anything else you would normally get with a per night rate at a hotel. All the tenant has to worry about is one recurring monthly payment that they pay directly to Ukio, which handles all the maintenance and management behind the scenes.
The company says the average length of stay in an original Ukio apartment is four to five months, although it supports stays between one and 11 months. It should be noted that customers initially book for a fixed period, but they can extend their stay via Ukio’s online platform.
Regarding how Ukio sources apartments, co-founder Stanley Fourteau says they adopt a “multi-pronged sourcing strategy” targeting individual owners, property developers and family offices. Ukio typically only accepts seven-to-10-year leases with landlords, meaning they’re obligated to stay on the platform for that length of time – but to protect against underperforming properties, Ukio n only has a one year obligation, which means he only has to give 45 days notice after the first year. However, he says he rarely has to.
“Ukio uses proprietary tools to find high-quality, off-market apartments based on strict criteria in prime locations in each city,” Fourteau told TechCrunch. “This data-driven supply acquisition strategy, combined with on-the-ground knowledge of local real estate, ensures that as Ukio embarks on a new city, we are able to quickly acquire and effectively a pipeline of high-quality apartments.”
While Ukio’s strategy starts with a more outgoing approach, over time its 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 are seeing a steady increase in the number of existing owners providing more and more of the offer, as well as new owners wanting to partner with us,” a- he declared. “In cities where we have lived for more than a year, the number of inbound leads from Ukio averages around 60% compared to 40% for outbound.”
It looks like Ukio could fill two main use cases. A young professional, for example, who can work from wherever they want might want to sample a new city before committing to a longer-term rental – Ukio would serve that purpose reasonably well. Alternatively, anyone who has landed a new job in a fixed office could use Ukio as a stopgap solution until they find more suitable long-term housing. A fully furnished pad with all the trimmings is much more appealing than a hotel, or even an AirBnb property which is generally not suitable for longer term accommodations.
“Finding and renting an apartment for a month or more is still incredibly complex and time-consuming for modern consumers who are used to doing anything and everything digitally,” said Ukio co-founder Jeremy Fourteau. “Ukio was created to overcome this challenge.
The main appeal for tenants is that Ukio essentially shields them from the hassles and restrictions of traditional rental models. But that, of course, comes at a price, with the cheapest property starting at around €1,750 per month and going all the way up to €5,000. Year-to-date, Ukio said it has seen its revenue grow sevenfold year-on-year, with 96% occupancy on the more than 400 properties it currently lists.
So far, Ukio is most active in its hometowns of Barcelona and Madrid, where it boasts 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, as it said it was also working on a B2B offering for companies growing their international footprint.
Ukio’s rise comes as several similar platforms have raised major funding. Landing, based in Birmingham, Alabama, recently secured $125 million in a Series C funding roundwhile San Francisco’s Zumper raised $30 million as he double on flexible short-term rentals. And last year based in New York 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.