After a nearly $100 million year, hospitality brand Placemakr (formerly WhyHotel) continues its expansion with a fresh $65 million.
Placemakr, which offers short- and long-term leases with hotel perks like laundry and cleaning, announced that it’s raised $65 million over the past year, following the $95 million it raised in 2021. In total, the company has raised over $350 million in capital. For this span of investment, the company received funding from real estate investors such as Highland Capital Partners, Harbert Growth Partners, Bernstein Management Corporation, Camber Creek and Gaw Capital USA.
With the funds, Placemakr said it will push forward with acquiring property and building developer partnerships, as well as hiring and building out its operation technology. The last of these priorities requires investing in the backend operating system, improving customer experience and boosting the platform’s efficiency. Company leadership plans to add another 200 members to its current 300-employee team by the end of the year. Placemakr will additionally invest in marking and sales.
Cofounder and CEO Jason Fudin said that this latest infusion of capital signals to him that Placemakr has a good product market fit and is working — even in a less-than-secure economic environment. He credits it to the evolution of the hospitality market, especially given the rise of remote work.
“Remote work has changed the way the people stay and live; there’s just a lot of really positive tailwinds on the consumer side,” Fudin told Technical.ly. “And then, on the real estate side, the more we operate, the more clear it is that our operating model gets to the value of this.”
Many Placemakr customers are using the spaces for business trips, Fudin said, because they get the whole apartment with amenities like a washer and dryer. Some stay on a longer-term basis for a few months at a time, while others live in the furnished building permanently. But no matter how long they’re staying, many people are working from the units because the buildings often include some form of conference space.
As the hospitality industry continues to grow, Fudin has a few ideas about what hospitality tech will look like in the next few years. He said many of Placemakr’s current partners are based out of Europe — because American hotels are primarily controlled by the same five brands — so he hopes to see more domestic growth. He’s also eager to see more customer-centric tools, like how Salesforce was developed for the sales world.
“You haven’t seen a lot of innovation in how you actually operate buildings,” Fudin said. “We would expect to see a lot more of that, have the consumer experience be tech-enabled, seamless and for owners, for that to not cost as much money because it can be done in a tech-enabled way.”
Alongside the funding news, the company also named Timothy Franzen to the role of chief development officer. The company also recently partnered with Bernstein Management Corporation and Urban Atlantic to acquire a K Street building, with plans to convert it into a hybrid hotel and apartment space.
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