Bob W secures €4 million in seed funding round

Finland: Helsinki-based hospitality startup Bob W has announced it has raised €4 million in a seed round led by early-stage venture capital firm byFounders.

Real estate investors NREP and Kaamos also participated in the round, as well as Baltic venture capital firms Superangel and United Angels, and other German and Nordic angels.

The startup, which was founded in 2018 and operates in Helsinki and Tallinn, offers an accommodation hybrid between traditional hotels and short-term rental apartments or hosted homes listed on sites such as Airbnb.

Bob W offers suites which feature the “liability and affordability” of short-term rentals, and are integrated within the local community to allow travellers to have the most authentic experience possible. It also claims that its homes are 100 per cent tech-enabled, and places an emphasis on touchless technology and sustainability, which will be more important than ever in the post-Covid-19 world.

The startup believes that its platform will not only reinvent the hospitality experience and make it safer than ever, but it will create a real estate model that maximises efficiency and builds value in a way that could be replicated by more companies in the future.

To ensure its sustainability, Bob W launched its 63-step Ridiculously Clean Standard programme that issues guidance on cleaning, sanitisation and disinfection of every suite. The programme also recommends the use of specialised equipment, such as electrostatic disinfectant sprayers and management inspection, before each suite is sealed and reserved for the next occupant.

Beyond this year, the company holds ambitions to grow to 1,000+ units across the Nordic and Baltic nations, as well as the United Kingdom, within the next two years, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Bob W co-founder and CEO, Niko Karstikko, told “Thanks to our unique combination of touchless hospitality features including online check-ins, 24/7 keyless entry and chat-based customer service, zero required face-to-face interaction, absence of shared spaces such as front desks, and the recently launched ‘Ridiculously Clean Standard’, Bob W is the smartest, safest, and cleanest hospitality choice in the new normal.”

Tommy Andersen, co-founder and managing Partner of byFounders, said: “Since the first meeting, we’ve been impressed with Bob W’s team and what they have accomplished with limited resources. Considering the current situation, hitting the hospitality industry harder than most, our esteem has not waned.

“While being lean and nimble has been a clear advantage, their super scalable, tech-enabled model lends itself well to market fluctuations. We believe the founders’ strong complementing profiles and experience make them perfectly positioned to target the intersection between tech, hospitality, and real estate.

“We look forward to supporting the team on their journey onwards,” he added.

For more information, visit the Bob W website here.