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DePinto steps up to CEO role at Frontdesk

US: Jesse DePinto, co-founder and chief product officer of Milwaukee-based short-term rental property management startup Frontdesk, is stepping up to the role of CEO at the company, with current CEO and fellow co-founder, Kyle Weatherly, transitioning to a board director.

DePinto will be tasked with growing Frontdesk’s leadership position in the short-term rental and flexible rental categories, including expanding within its current markets and building a residential hospitality brand in the process, in a world that is becoming more digital and flexible.

Since its founding in 2017, the company has expanded to more than 30 US markets with more than 1000 units across 150+ buildings. In the last 12 months alone, Frontdesk has increased its portfolio by 42 per cent, including taking over the management of 33 units left vacant by now-defunct property management company WanderJaunt in Tempe and Phoenix in Arizona and Austin in Texas.

Frontdesk previously purchased 277 units in 2020 after three of its lodging competitors – Stay AlfredDomio and Lyric – either shuttered or pivoted their offerings.

Despite the pandemic, Frontdesk has so far served more than 400,000 guests and earned an average satisfaction rating of 4.7 out of 5.0, although the startup underwent a “restructuring” earlier this year which saw around 3.5 per cent of its workforce laid off.

To date, Frontdesk has raised $22 million in funding, most recently securing $7 million in a venture capital round last August.

Weatherly said: “Jesse has been leading the day-to-day operations for some time, so, more than anything, this is simply our job titles catching up with reality. Today is an exciting inflection point in the company’s history, and Jesse’s arrival into the CEO role marks a turning point that we are entering a new phase of growth for the company.

“It has been an honour to lead Frontdesk, and I am thrilled that the board has unanimously appointed Jesse as the next CEO. I believe Jesse will fully realise the vision we have laid out over these past five-plus years and make Frontdesk the most beloved hospitality brand of this generation,” he added.

DePinto, who appeared on a RockSTRz webinar on “Which business models will succeed in a post-Covid world” in October 2020, said: To say that I have big shoes to fill is an understatement. Kyle Weatherly has set the bar unbelievably high for any leader.

“Growing a company from two to 300+ people in five years is one feat. To navigate a young travel company through a once-in-a-century pandemic is another feat. To do all that while also fostering an unmatched culture filled with team-oriented, strong, and passionate human beings is just unreal.

“When Kyle and I set out to start Frontdesk in early 2017, we knew that the hospitality experience needed to be redefined from the ground up for the modern traveller, and we were crazy enough to think that we might have a chance to play a leading role in that disruption. Flash forward five years, and we are now fortunate to serve over 400k loyal guests across 150+ locations in 30+ markets,” he added.