Unyoked raises €18m to spur European expansion

Australia: ‘Wilderness experience’ startup Unyoked, which lists cabins in rural destinations, has secured €18 million in Series A funding to accelerate its expansion into the European market.  

The investment round, which was led by by Surplus Equity Partners and Realside Financial Group, will be used to extend the startup’s presence into Europe, including the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, Benelux [Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg], Austria and Switzerland. Unyoked will also add new sites to its existing inventory of 100 cabins in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, having hosted around 35,000 overnight stays to date.

Founded in 2017 by twin brothers Cam and Chris Grant, Unyoked offers “tiny” mobile cabins in rural locations typically within two hours of major Australian cities. They are built on local, sustainable materials, run 100 per cent off-grid with solar power, and also feature a small kitchen, bathroom with shower, outdoor chairs and hammocks.

The startup’s concept has been pioneered to offer short-term “eco-friendly, regional micro-adventures” principally to young people seeking out unique, even “hipster”, experiences a short distance away from the cities they live in.

Unyoked co-founder Chris Grant said: “We believe in a world where people see and use nature like they do the gym. Spending time outdoors is an important balance to our lives in an increasingly noisy and hectic environment. Many of us still don’t understand just how powerful it can be.

“The current round of funding is an important step in our journey to help change that and make it easier for people to access the many benefits of nature more often,” he added.

Surplus Equity Partners CEO Sebastian Lüdke said: “Sustainable travel in the post-Covid world is an important investment hypothesis for us. We are convinced that travel will become more regional and sustainable. This is exactly what Unyoked offers.

“The company is very successfully addressing a trend that is becoming increasingly popular, especially among 25-45-year-olds with a heavy workload: spending time in nature has a positive effect on the psyche, the body, and creativity. The occupancy and customer loyalty show that Unyoked has found the right approach to meet the growing demand for outdoor experiences,” he added.

Unyoked previously secured an undisclosed amount in funding in March 2021, with backing from Real Tech Ventures and Luxury Escapes co-founder Adam Schwab.

The startup’s emphasis on promoting mindfulness as a deep-rooted lifestyle choice is central to its mission and its services cater specifically to the needs and preferences of millennial / Gen Z travellers, as well as digital nomads. Despite identifying their own niche prior to the pandemic, the Grant brothers believe that the Covid-enforced lockdowns accelerated shifts towards more nature-based experiences, expanding the market beyond urban locations.