Guesty, which makes software for managers of Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, raises $50 million as travel starts to take off again

  • Short-term rental tech company Guesty raised a $50 million Series D led by Apax Digital Fund.
  • The company has also acquired two competitors in the last month, Your Porter and MyVR.
  • Summer 2021 vacation-home bookings are up 32% from pre-pandemic levels, the startup said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Guesty, a firm that makes property management software for short-term rental companies and owners of vacation properties for rent announced on Tuesday that it has raised a $50 million Series D funding round.

The Tel Aviv-based company has now raised a total of $110 million. It declined to provide a valuation.

The funding round was led by the Apax Digital Fund, the tech investment arm of English private equity firm Apax Partners, and included investments from the AMI Opportunities fund. Previous investors Viola Growth, Vertex Ventures, Kingfisher Investment Advisors and La Maison Partners also took part in the round.

The funding comes amid new optimism for the short-term rental industry as signs indicate that increased vaccinations will lead to a resurgence in travel this spring and summer. The industry slowed during the early day of the pandemic as travel essentially stopped, and travelers have returned in fits and starts even in recent months.

Guesty data shows that reservations volume for this summer is up 282% compared with last year — and even up 32% from the pre-COVID summer of 2019, suggesting a clear boom in 2021. Earlier this month, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that the company needs millions of more hosts in order to meet skyrocketing demand.

Guesty’s software provides end-to-end property management assistance for short-term rental operators, from small-time operators who rent a few properties out on Airbnb to sophisticated large-scale operators who manage properties on behalf of institutional owners. The software handles everything from marketing to accounting across an entire portfolio.

The company is also announcing today the acquisition of property management software provider Your Porter, which specialized in smaller operators. Earlier this month, the company acquired another software company, MyVR.

After a year of restrictions, people will travel again

This Series D round — which cements Guesty’s place as the short-term rental property management startup that has raised the most funding — is a sign of brighter times ahead for the travel sector. Early in the pandemic, shutdowns led to some operators shuttering their portfolios, while others had to make quick pivots in the face of a collapse in demand.

Some operators with rural properties or those well-suited to long-term quarantine did well, but urban operators found themselves with a large amount of inventory and almost no bookings. The imbalance of supply and demand was exacerbated by a near moratorium on business travel. 

Guesty President and COO Vered Schwarz said that at first, the company expected sales of its software to halt. Instead, she said Guesty was “pleasantly surprised” that some demand for its product persisted during the slowdown.

“Something I learned about the industry is its optimism,” Schwarz told Insider. “No one said ‘This is the end of the world,’ instead, they said, ‘It was a bad year right now.’ But they were thinking about how to prepare for a surge in travel post-COVID.”

Investors seem to have had similar thoughts. Short-term rental companies (and Guesty customers) Kasa Living and Casai, both raised funding rounds during the pandemic, while Airbnb is trading more than $100 above its trading debut price in December. Sonder, the largest venture-backed short-term rental operator, may also be getting in on the action, with reports that it may be going public in 2021 via a SPAC.

Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Airbnb.

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