Business / Business development / Travel

WhyHotel is rebranding as Placemakr and looking to grow

After raising $90 million over the past year and creating a new product, the NoMa hospitality company is moving in a new direction for 2022.

The view of a WhyHotel pop-up hotel room at Ballston Quarter in Arlington. (Courtesy photo)
Almost exactly two years into the pandemic, NoMa alternative lodging service WhyHotel is continuing to evolve. As of today, the DC company will now be known as Placemakr.

The lodging company, which started with its pop-up hotel service, has had a lot of ups and downs over the past few years. After raising $20 million in late 2019, the company announced major layoffs and operational changes the following April, although cofounder and CEO Jason Fudin said it managed to maintain 85% occupancies overall. The following spring, it came back with a brand new model: offering short- and long-term leases with hotel perks like laundry and cleaning, known as “hospitality living.”

Fudin said the company nabbed $90 million in equity investments over the past year. It also launched a new space in Nashville called Placemakr Premier SoBro, which is set to open in July.

“There’s this concept in real estate development called ‘placemaking,’ where you invest heavily in the experience and, by investing the experience, you make it a better outcome for all,” Fudin told “And that’s really what we do, by bringing together this hybrid approach to hospitality and home.”

The pop-up hotel product will now be known as WhyHotel, by Placemakr, while its hospitality living options will operate under the names Placemakr Premier, Placemakr and A Placemakr Experience. While the company began with pop-up hotels, Fudin said that part of the rebrand involves moving toward its hospitality living offerings, which he said makes up over 80% of its inventory. He expects a huge boom this summer and in the coming months, with travel returning after years of delayed trips. He also hopes the new name will reflect the company’s offerings as it grows.

“The most important thing in all of it was: It was made clear that the model and business we’re building is incredibly resilient, where a lot of maybe less dynamic business models or organizations were not,” Fudin said. “That just added fuel to the fire for us to accelerate coming out of COVID.”

The rebrand is also fueled by the company’s growth, including the $90 million it raised in 2021. Fudin said a large portion of those funds have been used for hiring (it’s up to almost 200 employees) and expanding into new markets, like Nashville, as well as the branding. Over the past year, Fudin said, WhyHotel has added to its technology and operation teams while further building out the company’s software.

Going forward, he said WhyHotel plans to continue growing the team, including its engineering, software and data science teams, as well as continuing to build its backend.

“Travel has rebounded and we expect it to explode,” Fudin said. “It’s going to be a little wild for guests, residents, travelers, all of us, and we’re looking forward to being right at the center of that.”

Companies: Placemakr

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