The Urban Butler finalises Series A funding round

New Zealand: Auckland-based luxury short-term rental property management company The Urban Butler has announced the completion of its Series A capital raise as it seeks to redefine the New Zealand accommodation market.

The funding round was led by business strategy and investment firm, Greenhouse Capital. The amount raised has not been disclosed, however.

Founded by Jon Lawry in 2017 after he was inspired by staying in exceptional spaces overseas, The Urban Butler brand partners  with local property owners and developers to provide accommodation in premium urban apartments and residences. As part of their stay, guests have access to a dedicated guest experience team that functions as a modern day ‘butler’, recommending and arranging off-the-beaten track experiences.

The Urban Butler’s rapidly expanding portfolio of property listings now includes some of the most desirable buildings and locations in Auckland with plans to expand to other regions and countries as it grows. The company says that its number one priority is to provide exceptional customer service for its guests and hosts.

While Covid-19 has caused significant disruptions to New Zealand’s hospitality sector, short-term accommodation is back on the up-swing, according to Lawry. Three years worth of backlogged demand for travel, combined with much lower availability of short-term accommodation across the country, offers The Urban Butler a unique opportunity for growth.

The brand is positioning itself to meet the needs of the post-Covid traveller persona: guests are wanting to stay for longer periods of time in premium, spacious accommodation, properly explore their surroundings, enjoy high-end leisure activities, or work remotely and make long-overdue international business trips.

Greenhouse Capital engages with emerging Kiwi businesses to help them “level up” with effective business strategy and applied investment expertise. Director Duncan Stewart developed a targeted high-growth model for The Urban Butler and delivered a successful capital raising programme with aligned investors.

Stewart said that he would continue to work with Lawry and his investors in an advisory board capacity.

Duncan said: “Investment appetite is high for disruptive and niche businesses in the new era of travel, and The Urban Butler is helping to reshape the way both tourists and locals can experience New Zealand. I’m pleased to be a part of their success story, and I look forward to collaborating with Jon and his team as we embark on an ambitious expansion plan in the coming years.”

The Urban Butler CEO Jon Lawry said: “In line with our growth strategy and core values, we are expanding our portfolio of selected properties in buildings and locations we know and understand, to meet growing demand. The balance of high end accommodation and personalised hospitality, utilising carefully selected technology whilst still having the human element, is how we see urban traveller needs evolving for both business and pleasure.

“Our clients, team and now investors are aligned in this vision: our offering differentiates us and creates a brand that not only meets new traveller requirements, it helps to shape them.

“Here’s to growth in an exciting new chapter for us and the industry,” he added.

Lawry previously participated in ShortTermRentalz’ RockSTRz webinar on “Meet the property managers: Will urban tourism return?” in August 2021 – view the full recording at this link.