Israeli startup Guesty (formerly superhost) has successfully completed a financing round of $1.5 million from Magma, American angels and Y Combinator, which is the startup’s accelerator. Guesty developed automation tools to manage rental apartments and housing units on the platform of Airbnb.
Airbnb supports them
The startup was founded by brothers Amiad and Koby Soto. Its development center is in Tel Aviv, while all the sales and marketing are done in San Francisco. In a conversation with Geektime, Guesty CEO Amiad Soto confirmed the details of the funding and said that the money will be used to expand development, recruit programmers, and fully automate the system. In a response to our question on how a startup can offer a service to Airbnb, Soto said that both he and Koby, the CTO, met with Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky and they were “very with us.” Soto added that in the future, they might even “actively encouraged using us.”
Airbnb last year was having difficulty with regulators of large cities in the U.S., who claimed renting out residential apartment is contrary to the laws of urban hotels. Beyond the impossibility of municipalities to monitor the conditions of these accommodations, there is also the loss of income for the municipalities, which lose municipal tax revenues due to Airbnb. complications such as this for Airbnb could of course hit all companies built around this ecosystem, including services such as Guesty. This is not a threat, Soto said to Geektime. On the contrary, it “is an opportunity,” because Guesty can also help the process of automatically filing permits and municipal records differently.
Automation is easy for landlords
Guesty is developing automated tools to handle all phases of renting for property owners. Among other things, the system automatically answers questions from visitors all day long; and also knows how to filter interested customers based on criteria the property owner requires for people he or she hosts, such as age, certain verification requirements etc. The system can accept an invitation automatically and give guests information such as how to reach the owner and where to get the key. After leaving the residence the system can even be used to write a review of the guest.
The system can help property owners in ongoing management tasks such as ordering cleaning services; updating and optimizing the profile on Airbnb, and even granting support services and information for guests such as driving directions, destination information and concierge services that are available 24/7.
As for the revenue model; the service charges a fee of 3% to the owner of the property with a $3 minimum – only if a transaction takes place.