Index Ventures is today delighted to be leading a $3.7m Series A funding round for onefinestay.
Inspired by the boom in home exchanging, the phenomenon of couch surfing, and the growth in boutique hotels, onefinestay was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneurs Greg Marsh, Demetrios Zoppos and Tim Davey, who between them have property management, logistics, investment and technology experience.
Greg had previously spent 3 years at Index as associate so he is very well known to us.
onefinestay redefines the experience of visiting London: live like a local by staying in a distinctive home while the owner is out of town, with all the convenience and comfort of a hotel. On www.onefinestay.comchoose from more than 50 actual homes in London’s best neighbourhoods. Guests enjoy luxury amenities like 5* linens and toiletries from the White Company, along with room service from local restaurants. Every guest is lent an iPhone for free local calls which is also stocked with local tips and videos recorded by the home’s owner. Members—people with distinctive homes in London—benefit by earning income from a house or flat which would otherwise sit vacant, without the risk or hassle associated with alternatives like holiday rental or short letting.
Since its initial launch just six months ago, onefinestay has grown rapidly to manage more than 50 upscale homes across central London. 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. Other distinctive options onwww.onefinestay.com include a pied-a-terre in aristocratic Mayfair, a family home in elegant Holland Park, a bachelor pad in leafy Primrose Hill, a houseboat on the River Thames and a converted Victorian church in trendy Islington.
As the Economist puts it: “Guests get to enjoy an environment distinctly different from that of a hotel.... But you also benefit from hotel-style service in terms of linens, toiletries; you get a tour of the property on arrival; and you have someone on call 24/7 to deal with your problems. Room service is an optional extra. One nice touch is the inclusion of an adapted iPhone preloaded with information about the home and the surrounding area.”
The investment is, in some ways contrarian since the business is not as inherently scalable as some other models. Addressing this, however, is the core competence that the founders have and the business is developing beautifully.
Its fun to be working with Greg again and building the world's largest boutique hotel - without any property - is a challenge we're looking forward to.