Roami takes on Airbnb with creativity, courage and $14 million

It takes some courage to wake up in the morning and say “you know what?” I can do better than Airbnb”, but that’s what Andreas King-Geovanis did with Roami. The company added $14 million in equity and venture debt, bringing its funding to a total of $29 million. The business was formerly called Sextant Stays and focuses on short-term rentals with apartment-style units. The company currently operates 500 units in South Florida and New Orleans.

Founded in 2016, Roami was born out of King-Geovanis’ belief that travelers shouldn’t be forced to choose between two imperfect options: cramped and expensive hotel rooms or inconsistent and unpredictable vacation rentals. By managing the entire building – not just a few floors or units – Roami believes it can create a better experience.

“On paper, I entered the hotel space as an underdog: no industry connections, no VC funding, no experience, and no Wharton MBA. But I never considered myself an outsider because I knew it was easier to get those four things than what I, and every member of the Roami team, naturally have: creativity and courage,” says King. – Geovanis. “Starting a business as a booted founder gives you a perspective that cannot be emulated, but like any other team member at Roami, your position must be earned quarterly. This is not a lifetime title.

Bold words for a $29 million backed company taking on Airbnb and its $81 billion market cap.

The company’s current round has been led by Vigo Capital, and the company plans to use the new capital to expand its target markets. The company says it started by building a sustainable business before focusing on branding, hence the rebranding from Sextant Stays to Roami.

“Roami is fun, playful and better reflects the personality of our company and our customers,” King-Geovanis says, before setting out his growth goals.

“We are going to see many mergers and acquisitions over the next two years. It is still a very fragmented industry that is ripe for consolidation. Only 1% of inventory on Airbnb is branded and professionalized. When you compare that to 72% in traditional hotels, you start to realize how nascent our segment really is,” says King-Geovanis. “A few hotel brands – think Soho House or The Standard – have been hugely successful, not only because of the level of service, but also because of the opportunity to meet other interesting guests during their stay. Our Mission is to inspire human connection, which is why later this year we are introducing a world first: market-scale floating equipment.Through our partnership with Arkup, now in its 4th year, the Miami-based customers will have access to a one-of-a-kind space to connect with each other.

The company says it will continue to double down on existing markets and create even more density, which is driving profitability. Fundraising also allows Roami to access larger buildings (over 200 units), which were previously out of reach. The company also says it will invest in technology.

“This is a business that should be guest-funded, and this fundraiser gives us the scale and margins to self-fund future growth,” King-Geovanis says.

Tackle three industries

In the long term, the company’s vision is to tackle three trillion-dollar industries at once: hospitality, residential management and real estate.

Guests will stay in a Roami and have their most memorable vacation. Then they will go home to their apartment, which Roami also manages. Imagine, for a moment, if The Standard was not just your go-to choice for traveling, but also your landlord,” King-Geovani dreams aloud. “Traditional residential management has remained largely unchanged over the past decades, and tenants want more flexibility, mobility and, above all, human connection. And finally, we’ll start buying our most profitable properties, giving us full creative control and even better margins.

The company says it received several term sheets and ultimately decided to partner with Vigo Capital, a Miami-based venture capital firm that invests exclusively in hotels and multi-family accommodations in the United States and Europe. The company also added Joe Fraiman (the former co-founder of Lyric) and Jordan Allen (the former founder and CEO of Stay Alfred) on its advisory board.

“We are proud to support Roami as they reinvent the way the world lives, works and travels,” said Kirill Vinogradov of Vigo Capital in a statement provided by Roami. “The company’s steady growth since 2020 despite volatile external conditions proves that it truly understands how to meet the needs of the modern Roamer and we look forward to seeing its continued growth and expansion.”

In the long run, Roami doubles down on the importance of human connection – interestingly, it’s also where Airbnb started, way back in time before it became a commercialized platform.

“When you start a business, success is important to you for one obvious reason: it’s your livelihood. As you start to grow, that balance shifts to the well-being and livelihood of your colleagues and partners, and their families,” says King-Geovanis. “Roami has more than 250 colleagues, salespeople and owners who rely on our success. At our current stage, where we have achieved relative stability, this reason now revolves around our mission: to inspire human connection. »

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