Handys raises $1.8m / 2bn won in funding

South Korea: Seoul-based lodging company Handys, which runs branded short-term and long-term accommodation in South Korea, has raised $1.8 million [ just over two billion won] in a funding round led by DSC Investment.

The startup has previously received seed round funding, worth $270,000 [300 million won] from Spring Camp and Plant Lee Partners, since its founding in 2015. Its Crunchbase page revealed the investment round was finalised on 26 February.

Handys operates its own lifestyle accommodation brand, Urban Stay, which runs about 700 rooms in locations across South Korea, including Seoul, Busan and Gyeonggi.

According to a statement by Handys, the investment will be put towards upgrading and brand enhancement, hiring talents to provide customers with high-level services, and recruiting design experts.

Claiming to be the “largest single accommodation brand in Korea”, the startup expects to grow to 27 locations and 10,000 rooms over the next three years, while its integrated membership service program for hotels, Shilla Stays, lists around 3000 rooms in the country.

Having started out as an outsourced cleaning service for Airbnb hosts, Handys now offers consignment services for washing, cleaning and living accommodation facilities, with the aim to provide clients with an increase in conversion rates and few operational expenses.

Its CEO Jeong Seung-Ho said Handys had decided that this is where “disruptive innovation” could take place in the travel and hospitality space over the coming years.

On the funding announcement, he said: “To all the owners of Urban Stay who believe in and support us: I would like to express my sincere gratitude, and I will do my best to repay you a hundred and a thousand times for your trust. Thank you.”