Lyric raises $160m in Series B round with Airbnb

US: San Francisco-based apartment provider Lyric has raised $160 million in a Series B financing and debt financing led by Airbnb.

The round was also led with participation from investors including Tishman Speyer, RXR Realty, Obvious Ventures, SineWave, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and former Twitter COO Adam Bain, Starwood Capital Group cofounder and chairman Barry Sternlicht, NEA, SignalFire, FifthWall, and Tusk Ventures.

Lyric, which was launched back in 2014, is a service that specialises in leasing apartment units and floors, refurbishing them and transforming them into hotel-style properties for business travellers.
The injection of capital brings the total funding raised by Lyric to $185 million, following a $15.5 million Series A round last February.

Lyric co-founder and CEO, Andrew Kitchell, said that investment would be used to expand the company’s operations and ensure the rollout of its technology and data platform.

He said: “We’re incredibly excited to have Airbnb, the company that reinvented how we travel, along with renowned real estate partners and elite investors believing in us at Lyric to create a new category of accommodations for the modern traveller.”

Lyric claims to caters its spaces, or “Creative Suites”, to professional travellers who are seeking accommodations for between two and 200 days on rental platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway and Booking.com.

The firm forms partnerships with local landlords and businesses to transform properties and curate specialised art, music, and coffee programmes. It also facilitates site management with a dashboard and backend system that secures each location, manages revenue, handles guest registration, and automates background checks and digital access.

Lyric suites are all designed to include a Casper mattress, Wi-Fi, connected TVs, keyless entry, a fully-stocked kitchen, a washer and dryer, as well as access to fitness centres, pools, and business lounges.

Kitchell said: “When people search for beautiful spaces or experiences, what they’re really looking for is a connection to a local community. From the music and artwork we hand-select, to the wallpaper we curate, our job is to be a storyteller for that community or building, and to help guests feel like they are a part of it.”

The company currently operates about 1,000 units in cities where local governments welcome short-term rental businesses, such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Philadelphia. It has also worked alongside renowned multifamily landlords such as Hines, Bozzuto Group and Camden Property Trust.

Lyric is following in the footsteps of other startups that have focused on the so-called “soft brand rental business”.

Its now-competitors include boutique hotel rental startup Sonder, which recently secured $85 million in venture capital and opened an Airbnb-hotel hybrid in Denver, as well as Oasis Collection, OneFineStay, RedAwning and Stay Alfred.

In recent times, brands like Marriott have even tested the water in the field of home-sharing.

Airbnb itself launched its Friendly Buildings Programme, where landlords can list rental units on its platform.

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