UK: London-based proptech firm and flexible rental platform, Lavanda, has announced a fresh growth funding round of $7.25 million [approximately £5.3 million].
The investment round was led by leading European proptech and fintech venture capital firm Finch Capital, with participation from US-based Starwood Capital via European venture partner Concrete VC.
Aman Ghei, partner at Finch Capital, will join the company’s board where he will sit alongside fellow non-executive directors Justin Meissel, Chief Investment Officer of Henley Ventures, and Harry Hill, founder of Rightmove.
Founded in 2015, Lavanda’s property management software, which won a Shortyz Award in 2020, is designed to make it easy for owners and operators of residential apartment buildings to outperform conventional rental yields by tapping into short- and medium-term rentals alongside more conventional long-term tenancies. The Lavanda platform leverages technology and data to identify and solve structural inefficiencies within each building, optimising and automating the following key areas:
- building configuration
- revenue management
- distribution and marketing of accommodation inventory
- attracting and retaining renters with improved flexibility and convenience
- the design and delivery of highly customised, digital-first hospitality experiences
The product focuses on the specific needs of the multifamily, student accommodation and serviced apartment sectors where the company’s rapidly growing global customer base includes leading institutional players such as Greystar, Blackstone, Hines, Nuveen and Aldar.
Ghei said: “Rental demand has seen a fundamental shift. As people become increasingly familiar with the ease and experience of booking a home through Airbnb, they come to expect the same when renting their primary residence. To date that’s just not been possible due to archaic leasing structures and a lack of enabling technology.
“The Lavanda team have cleverly identified this gap and developed a new software layer that makes it easy for institutional landlords to boost yields by renting their inventory by the day, week, month or year in line with their business strategy. As a consequence, traditional residential operators are now able to design and build sustainable, next-generation hospitality brands that are better able to capitalise on emerging market trends, generating huge incremental value for real estate funds and portfolios.
“Lavanda’s unique technology, and the solutions it powers for multifamily and student accommodation landlords, are testament to the team’s very deep understanding of the needs of the urban accommodation industry. Despite the obvious headwinds of the last two years, this knowledge and insight has enabled the company to grow an impressive five times.
“Furthermore, the pandemic has been a catalyst for real estate operators around the world to accelerate their digital transformation, which in turn has enabled Lavanda to build a global pipeline of more than one million apartments. This new investment grants the team additional firepower to accelerate product development and double down on the very exciting growth they’ve already seen in USA, Europe, Middle East and Australia,” he added.
Lavanda CEO Frederik Lerche-Lerchenborg said: “This new capital injection is an important step towards realising our vision of becoming the de facto technology platform for powering more flexible, accessible and affordable living. It allows us to further strengthen our core product with a raft of unique new features, and build out our team with new hires across product, sales, customer success and marketing.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to partner with Finch Capital and Starwood in this next phase, and look forward to working with them to execute on the huge potential in the business. Watch this space,” he added.
Earlier this month, Lavanda teamed up with UAE-based real estate developer Aldar Properties to facilitate flexible short-term stays for visitors to the Middle East via a new Cloud Living initiative. The vision underpinning the Cloud Living platform, and the goal of the strategic partnership between Aldar and Lavanda, is to create “new residential concepts in Abu Dhabi that put customer experience and innovation at the heart of living in, and visiting, the region”.
Meanwhile in September last year, Lavanda announced a partnership with real estate services firm JLL to launch JLL Short Stays, a booking platform targeting business and leisure travellers in the UK that is designed to provide a “more trusted and professional alternative” to major online travel agencies [OTAs] such as Airbnb and Booking.com. A broader global rollout of JLL Short Stays is expected this year.
The latest round of investment takes Lavanda’s total funding to date to more than $15 million [approximately £11.4 million].
Lerche-Lerchenborg will be presenting the findings of a Lavanda and Greystar white paper about urban living trends at IHM’s Recharge event, which is taking place in Paris on 28-29 March. Click here to find out more.
He will also be speaking on ShortTermRentalz’ RockSTRz webinar on Tuesday 5 April [4pm BST] on “The new categories of flexible living”, alongside Emmanuel Lavoie [CEO, Jetstream] and Brian Carrico [co-founder, The Guild]. Sign up for the free webinar at this link.