The co-founders of Cosi, with Christian Gaiser pictured right [Credit: Cosi]

Cosi secures €5 million in seed funding pre-launch

Germany: Berlin-based hospitality startup Cosi, which has an alternative offering to short-term rental apartments and boutique hotels has secured €5 million in a seed funding pre-launch.

The round was led by venture capital companies Cherry Ventures and, with participation from various travel, real estate and hospitality entrepreneurs and experts. 

The other participants in the round included Nils Regge (the founder of HomeToGo and Dreamlines), Gleb Tritus (Lufthansa Innovation Hub), Manuel Stotz (Kingsway Capital founder), Mato Peric (Immo founder), Andreas Brehmke, Loric Ventures, and Lions Venture.

Cosi CEO Christian Gaiser, who founded local shopping platform before selling it to Axel Springer in 2011, told TechCrunch: “More and more guests prefer to stay in a unique apartment versus a boring hotel, i.e. travellers tend to book their stay at a private host via Airbnb. 

“The experience can be frustrating, though, due to lack of quality and service: long check-in/check-out times, poor interior design, lack of cleanliness, not enough linen, no service hotline in case of questions, to name a few examples.

“Many guests therefore decide not to stay in a unique home for quality reasons. Cosi solves this problem as a full-stack hospitality brand: we control the entire guest journey from end-to-end,” he added.

Co-founder Gaiser aims to create a so-called ‘full-stack’ hospitality service which can feasibly compete with larger players in the boutique hotel and short-term rental markets. He added that the firm signs long-term leases with property owners before furnishing them and updating their interior design.

Gaiser said: “On top of that, we offer a digital service along the entire guest journey from initial contact to loyalty. Finally, we rent out our apartments short-term as a hotel replacement.”

On top of that, guests are demanding more than just a guest experience enhanced by technology; running a full-service hospitality brand requires tools for housekeeping, maintenance and yield management, as Gaiser points out.

Cosi is principally targeting two groups for its service: tourists travelling to Berlin for a couple of days, and business travellers staying in the city for a minimum of several weeks or months and want something different to the traditional hotel experience.

Gaiser said: “Cosi creates a new category, but the closest direct competitors include smaller boutique hotels or traditional local serviced apartment operators for tourists. In a broader sense, we also compete with the big hotel companies like Marriott or Hilton in business travel.”

US firms such as Sonder and Lyric, which operate under a similar master lease model, will also be competing with the newly-formed startup.

For more information, visit the Cosi website here.

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