Operto closes $12m USD Series A funding round

Vancouver: Operto Guest Technologies, a provider of smart device automation and SAAS-based software technologies for the global hotel, multifamily, vacation and short-term rental industries, has completed its $12 million USD Series A financing round.

The funding round was led by venture capital firm FUSE, with follow-on investments from Watchfire Venturers, BlackPines Capital Partners and a consortium of other prominent investment groups. The company says that it will use the new financing to further accelerate the development of its Connect™ operating system, and continue its expansion across all accommodation verticals and into new geographies.

Although the experience of finding and booking a short-term rental has improved dramatically in the last ten years, travellers are still experiencing a significant gap in how technology is used to improve the guest experience after a booking is made, according to Operto. For example, instructions for how and when to enter the property, guest guidelines / codes of conduct, information about on-property technologies [i.e. wifi, noise monitoring, temperature control] and booking local amenities can often be scattered or unclear.

Property owners are recognising this and want to provide a more seamless and enjoyable guest experience, but are supposedly being “hamstrung by the lack of a simple, holistic and digitally-enabled solution”.

Operto’s SaaS-based property automation software is set up to improve short-term rental operations and the entire post-booking guest experience, by digitising and enhancing the process end-to-end. Through a diverse set of digital tools and IoT into one place, the company is seeking to address common friction points to provide fully seamless and personalised stays, creating greater efficiency, guest satisfaction and more revenue.

Guests are able to seamlessly check in and access their property on arrival [via digital key card, or unique smart lock access code], have all the property instructions and technology devices automatically surfaced on their mobile device, receive an immediate overview of services and amenities offered by the property, and begin to action those services and amenities with the click of a button.

Beyond the benefits provided to guests, Operto supports property managers by allowing them to view and manage their portfolios in real time and automate any related workflows. This includes visibility into how many guests have checked in / out, which units need to be serviced and in what order, housekeeping schedules, maintenance orders and access permissions, while a mix of in-room smart devices and cloud-based communications via mobile devices and software help properties to increase the sophistication of their operations and modernise the guest experience.

Last year, Operto launched its proprietary Connect operating system to bring together the guest, manager and ancillary service providers under a single operating system, and in June, it acquired vacation rental operations software solution VRScheduler [now rebranded as Operto Teams].

Operto CEO Steve Davis said: “2021 was an absolutely huge year of growth at Operto, in terms of revenue, reach into new accommodation verticals, and launching new products and services to delight our customers. Acquiring VRScheduler, and launching Operto Connect™, all while driving 400 per cent year-on-year growth, highlights the strength and resilience of the hotel and short-term rental technology sector, and how demand for guest-centric technology solutions has grown since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Now is the right time to double down on our growth plans, and working alongside our new incredible partners at FUSE, Watchfire and with our broader investor consortium, will allow us to build on this momentum. 2022 is going to be another year of record growth, and the incredible team we have built here in Vancouver is ready to grab this unique opportunity with both hands, and run with it,” he added.

Brendan Wales, managing partner of FUSE, said: “At FUSE, our goal is to support entrepreneurs who are first and foremost customer obsessed. The Operto team works relentlessly to support the global set of property managers and owners who make the travel experience for us all more comfortable and accessible via short-term vacation rentals. It is a dream to be able to partner with them at this stage.”

Darren Huston of BlackPines Capital Partners said: “As an early investor in Operto, it has been great to watch the company’s journey and tremendous growth over the past few years. I look forward to supporting Steve and our amazing team, as we pursue the next chapter of innovation and growth.”