Silkhaus Raises $ 7.75 Million to Digitize Short Term Rents in Emerging Markets • TechCrunch

Silkhaus, a Dubai-based platform for short-term rentals that come from stealth, has raised $ 7.75 million in upfront funding, money it plans to use for expansion into South Asia, Southeast Asia and the region. MENA.

Venture capital firms that participated in the round include Nuwa Capital, Nordstar, Global Founders Capital, Yuj Ventures, Whiteboard Capital and VentureSouq. Some international family offices and founders of proptech also joined this round.

CEO Ahan Bhojani And Ashmin Varma founded Silkhaus last year after identifying a $ 13 billion market opportunity for asset owners in emerging markets, most notably MENA, South Asia and Southeast Asia. In an interview with TechCrunch, Bhojani, a graduate of HBS and Yale College who had previously worked in roles that required long travel, such as management consulting and investment banking, said what prompted him to launch Silkhaus was the change in the travel behavior of small business owners after the pandemic.

“At one point, as I was creating software for SMEs to book and manage travel globally, I saw that companies were starting to do something different,” the CEO told TechCrunch over a phone call. “Businesses have traditionally always been in hotels. But interestingly, now they were starting to ask for short-term rentals as well, you know, pretty much the world’s Airbnbs. And that’s when I started scratching my head and thinking about this whole space from a supply and demand problem. “

The pandemic changed the nature of the trip, he said. According to him, while the frequency of leisure and business trips has decreased, the average duration of these trips has skyrocketed. His interpretation of this event was that these trips were becoming more nomadic and long-term thinking. But while platforms like Airbnb have fantastically aggregated demand to match supply in the US and Europe, it’s a different experience in emerging markets where supply isn’t bundled together enough to meet Airbnb-driven demand. This is where Silkhaus comes in. It is digitizing the short-term rental management process for large and small property owners by providing an operating system that includes the tools they need to monetize and manage their properties. The company says it allows property owners to list multiple or single units on the platform with an average income increase of between 20 and 40%.

“Frankly, finding a good short-term rental in these markets is like pulling a needle out of a haystack. And that’s what we’re solving for, “Bhojani said.” We’re aggregating some of the most successful short-term rental operators and building the highest quality provider of that inventory for our partners, of which Airbnb is one. Our great vision is to bring quality, control and technology to the space. We exist to ensure that more people can experience high quality short term rentals. “

The Silkhaus team

In essence, Silkhaus leases units from asset owners (in Dubai, at the moment) and manages distribution, pricing, revenue management and full coverage from a digital perspective; Airbnb is one of around 60 different distribution channels used by Silkhaus. Meanwhile, the company has built tools on the backend, including a marketplace for third-party vendors to access these rentals and manage operations.

According to the CEO, Dubai was the ideal market for the Silkhaus launch because its infrastructure features one of the most advanced configurations for short-term rentals, embodies progressive government regulation for proptech, and accommodates diverse requests from different types of consumers. Silkhaus’s engineering team, split between the UAE city and Bangalore, India, is currently building its technology stack, the company said in a statement. COO Varma leads the team, which is part of a 20-man workforce with professionals from Microsoft, Airbnb, Careem and Deliveroo.

Bhojani says Silkhaus is currently among the richest 3% of the city’s operators in terms of units managed. He said startup proptech, which has grown more than 10x in revenue over the past 12 months, plans to join the top 1% in the next two months by increasing the offer of properties on its platform.

Silkhaus estimates that its market opportunity could grow to $ 18 billion over the next four years. With operations planned for major Asian business centers and the MENA region, providing guests with high-quality accommodation options and enabling companies to choose extended stays for their employees on Silkhaus will be key to gaining a significant chunk of this market share. .

“Our investment in Silkhaus, along with global technology and strategic investors, reflects our belief in the future of lodging solutions and Silkhaus’s ability to operationalize and scale the affinity customers have come to expect from the Silkahus brand. Aahan and Ashmin have differentiated themselves in the right ways with an initial emphasis on solid economic units, market-leading NPS and value-added for all their stakeholders, including guests and property owners, “said Nuwa Capital partner Nitin Reen. on the investment.

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