PROfounders Capital also participated, along with Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com; Andy Phillipps, co-founder of Active Hotels; Jonathan Eilian, a founding investor in Starwood Hotels; and David Magliano, former Director of Marketing for London 2012. So that’s a pretty strong line up with connections to the travel and hospitality sectors online.
Furthermore, Index Ventures partner Robin Klein will take a seat on onefinestay’s board. Of course, the Index connection goes back further: Onefinestay co-founder and CEO Greg Marsh was previously on the investment team at the European VC firm.
Billed as an alternative to luxury or boutique hotels and launched initially in London, onefinestay was until now largely bootstrapped aside from from funding from friends and family. The new investment will be used to scale operations in London and to “build unhotels across the globe.”
And while comparisons with the likes of AirBnB are inevitable, onefinestay is aiming at a very different market with a different model altogether in the sense that the service is fully managed. While guests are invited to ‘live like a local’, emulating more of a hotel experience, onefinestay does much of the heavy lifting, such as inventory, insurance, and even providing towels and toiletries via the White Company, along with room service from local restaurants. That said the contract is between the guest and home owner not Onefinestay, so in that sense they are still an intermediary.
Aside from booking online, there’s a further technology tie-in. Guests are loaned an iPhone for the duration of their stay so that they can make local calls and get info about the local area and the home that they are staying in. Prices range from £150 a night for a “comfortable one bedroom apartment in Marylebone W1”, to £1,000 a night for a “grand townhouse in South Kensington”.