United States: Milwaukee corporate housing management startup Frontdesk has received an investment of $250,000 from Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry.
The sum will go towards the $1 million+ seed-plus funding round that Frontdesk is currently raising. According to Frontdesk co-founder, Jesse DePinto, the round is now oversubscribed.
He said: “We are considering going to the board and requesting an oversubscription on this round due to the large amount of investor interest.”
Frontdesk was founded last year by chief executive officer Kyle Weatherly and DePinto, then the chief technology officer. It targets short-term business and personal travellers, by leasing out apartments and then subletting them to guests.
DePinto said Lasry’s son Alex, senior vice president at the Bucks, had urged his father to take up the investment opportunity and the deal was eventually agreed about a month ago.
DePinto said: “They kind of came as a team. The father is investing but Alex is the one we’re really interfacing with on a daily basis.”
Alex Lasry has now joined the Frontdesk board of directors, which also includes DePinto, Weatherly and Jon Lancaster, who is the managing director at Madison-based family office Lancaster Investments.
DePinto said: “They are such an attractor to people coming in to Milwaukee for various reasons, so definitely Bucks games but also things like the (city’s bid for the) DNC (convention in 2020). You’re basically advertising Milwaukee on the centre stage across the country.”
Alex Lasry said he and his father invested in Frontdesk because it seemed like a sound investment and he expected the startup to become a key disrupter in its sector.
Lasry said: “I’ve known Kyle since I’ve moved to Milwaukee and he is a really smart and capable entrepreneur. They always say when investing in startups it’s not just the idea, it’s also the people. Kyle is someone who has not only proven the concept he has, but has also shown his growing potential.”
The father-son duo have also invested in The Tandem restaurant and the Sherman Phoenix project, both ventures spearheaded by developer Juli Kaufmann, but have not invested in any other Milwaukee startups.
Lasry said employees working in all areas of the business would be able to take advantage of staying at the Frontdesk apartments.
“I think Frontdesk serves as a type of company that for any sort of employee that is looking to travel…if we ever have people that are traveling here, that’s something we would look at,” he added.