24.09.21- Spain-based Ukio, a housing rental startup, announced that it raised USD 9 million in its seed funding round. This round was led by Breega, a French VC firm with the participation of Partech and Heartcore and angel investors like founder of Travelperk, Avi Meir and the founder of Coverwallet Inaki Berenguer.

The reason behind the funding – Ukio plans to utilise this funding amount to scale itself in six continental capitals with more than 700 apartments in 2022. The cities it is targeting next are Lisbon, followed by Berlin and London.

About Ukio – 

Ukio was initiated by Stanley Forteau and Jeremy Forteau in 2020, having its headquarters in Barcelona, Spain. The startup provides a substitute to the traditional housing stays by offering turnkey premium apartments for monthly stays or longer with the partnership of local property owners. 

Ukio has grown in just a year of being incepted and has more than 100 apartments between Barcelona and Madrid while having an occupancy rate of 95%. 

“Ukio rents, furnishes and manages properties to oversee the entire guest experience,” Stanley Forteau explains. “Our vertically integrated approach allows us to professionalize supply for platforms such as Airbnb (a peer-to-peer marketplace), similarly to how global hotel chains professionalize supply for Booking.com.”

The idea for Ukio originated from his time at Airbnb, where user demand of customers for long-term rentals never worked well with the company’s platform model. “The core focus of [that] company is in strengthening their relationships with and growing their host community,” he says. If Airbnb were to build a rental operator that was vertically integrated like Ukio, “it would compete with their existing community and could compromise its relationship with them.”

He added, “the most desirable long-term rentals in a city get taken before they get posted on Airbnb, or are snatched up from the platform well before demand is met. Ukio-operated apartments, on the other hand, “will be a part of that community for many years to come.”

Ukio’s relationship with the local property owners is an alternative way of creating a moat around key locations, he believes. “We engage in 7-10 year lease contracts with full tenant management. These agreements optimize their returns, avoiding vacancy rates and reducing management costs. Ukio provides them guaranteed yields and offers a hassle free solution. As a business, we now receive more inbound requests from landlords wanting to work with Ukio than targeted outreach, with a strong supply pipeline for growth in the next year.”

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