Is the global tourism crisis behind us? It seems to be so if you ask investors. Today (Tuesday), Israeli TravelTech startup Guesty announces the closing of a $50 million Series D funding round. The investment was led by Apax Digital, with existing investors, including Viola Growth, Flashpoint, Vertex Ventures, Kingfisher Investment Advisors, and La Maison Partners. In addition to the round, Guesty is also announcing the acquisition of real estate management platform, Your Porter - becoming the second company Guesty acquired in the last month.
A year to remember for both company and industry
Guesty automates all listings and hosting processes on popular platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, or private websites. Among other services, the Guesty system automates customer response; answering customer queries 24/7, and allowing renters to communicate with potential customers from a single dashboard; approve reservations automatically; and send guests directions, recommendations, key deposit locations, and more.
Just 3 weeks ago, Guesty announced the acquisition of American startup MyVR, which enables customers to list properties on dozens of platforms at once (For example: Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor) and receive reservations on through a customized portal. The acquisition announcement came following a very difficult time for the TravelTech industry, and for Guesty as well. After the COVID-19 outbreak signaled a pause in global tourism, Guesty was forced to let employees go on furlough, which kept getting extended. This wasn’t the only challenge facing Guesty in 2020, when according to Wired, NYC targeted Guesty in an investigation because its system helped facilitate short-term renting platforms, which mostly operate illegally around the city.
Amiad Soto, co-founder and CEO at Guesty, responded on the round, saying: “We are entering an exciting chapter in our company’s life cycle with short-term rentals having gone mainstream as a direct result of the pandemic, now catering to an increased user base that expects the comfort and privacy of a home coupled with hotel-like amenities.” Soto added that US 2021 summer reservation volume alone is currently 282% higher compared to last year and 32% higher compared to pre-COVID, 2019 volume. These numbers highlight a bright future ahead, and Guesty is looking forward to being there every step of the way to support our customers and an industry that has shown resilience during an unimaginable year in which many had to quickly pivot and adjust their business models to stay afloat. We are coming out on the other side stronger, together as a community that believes in the evolution of travel.”
Guesty was founded in 2013 by brothers Kobi and Amiad Soto. The company has raised $110 million to date, and among its backers are Magma VC, Vertex, and Viola.