Helsinki-founded Bob W has just raised €21 million for its tech-led sustainability-driven hotel and short-stay rental offering. The startup is now planning to extend its reach across Europe and establish itself as a leading player in the travel sector.
The travel and hospitality sectors continue to be full of fresh innovation, funding and plenty of action. With the rise of remote and hybrid working and the increasing demand for digital approaches and capabilities, hotels and holiday rentals have been undergoing profound changes. Now, more and more people are looking for stays that will provide them with comfort and a homely feel without losing the luxury of a hotel.
Aiming to give travellers exactly that, and cater to the modern traveller, digital nomad and workation-er all at once is Bob W, a tech-driven hospitality provider offering a smarter and more sustainable lodging option.
The Nordic-based startup has now secured a fresh capital injection and is set to expand.
The €21 million Series A round was led by IDC Ventures, Elevator Ventures, Verve Ventures and Flashpoint.
Other backers include ByFounders, NREP, Tesi, Wolt co-founder Miki Kuusi and Supercell-cofounder Ilkka Paananen.
It comes as the Finnish firm has made a number of strategic acquisitions of late – snapping up KOTI Hotel just a couple of weeks ago and acquiring Estonian competitor, Estonishing Stay in May.
Becoming a key hospitality player
Founded in 2018, Bob W has been a key player in shaping the hospitality sector, despite only launching just before the global pandemic completely disrupted revel. It has seen impressive growth with year-on-year revenue growing by a reported 800%, reflecting a resilient and innovative business approach that has clearly hit a market gap.
Bob W takes a tech approach to hospitality, offering a ‘smarter’ and ‘cooler; alternative to hotels and short-stay rentals. It currently operates properties in Finland, Estonia, Spain, the UK, and Norway with expansion secured across key cities in Europe.
The startup aims to cater to the needs of modern travellers who want both the quality of a hotel and the authenticity of a short-term rental. The properties are sustainability operated and aim to provide guests with a seamless five-star experience, without having face-to-face interactions.
The company’s full-stack tech platform – including its app, chat-based customer service, contactless online check-in, and autonomous operations – not only minimizes human error but also allows the company to craft the entire guest experience, from booking to check-out, at scale.
The funding will be used to fuel expansion into new and existing markets, as well as to scale the autonomous full-stack tech platform.
Niko Karstikko, co-founder and CEO of Bob W: “Our goal is to use the funds to create a new industry benchmark for digital experience, and to support our explosive growth in new European markets beyond the UK, Spain, Finland and Estonia, where we currently operate.
“We have demonstrated, despite the challenging business and investment climate, that we can deliver a strong performance, which is reflected in our ability to raise capital. The resilience that we have shown, underpinned by our unique concept, robust tech platform and genuine sustainability credentials, sets us up perfectly for future expansion, whether through organic growth or mergers and acquisitions.
“We are resetting the expectation of hospitality for the consumer and now we can expand our reach across Europe with over 20 cities in our expansion pipeline.”
By the way: If you’re interested in the future of the travel industry, and exciting innovations in the travel and hospitality world, make sure you check out FutureTravel and the upcoming FutureTravel Summit!