Merging Airbnb and traditional hotel model, Casai in Mexico City raises $ 23 million to expand in Latin America – TechCrunch
With the increase in travel and tourism throughout Latin America, Casai, a startup combining the rental of individual Airbnb units with hotel room amenities, has raised $ 23 million to expand its business in Latin America.
The company, which was initially hit as hard by regional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic as other companies in the hospitality industry, has recovered to nearly 90% of the total capacity of the 200 units that it manages around Mexico City.
The company was co-founded by the managing director Nico Barawid, former head of international expansion at Nova Credit and consultant to BCG, and María del Carmen Herrerías Salazar, director of operations, who previously worked for one of Mexico’s largest hotel operators, Grupo Presidente.
The two met two years ago at a barbecue in Mexico City and started talking about ways to update the hospitality industry, taking the best of the short-term single-unit rental model of Airbnb and linking it to the quality control and standards that guests expect from a Hotel Chain.
“I wanted to define a product from the consumer’s point of view,” said Barawid. “I wanted it to exist. “
Before the SARS-Cov-2 outbreak, Casai units were mainly booked through travel partners like HotelTonight or Expedia. Today, the company has a direct direct booking business thanks to the work of its CTO, a former Google engineer named Andres Martinez.
The company’s new financing was led by Andreessen Horowitz and included additional commitments from the company’s Cultural Leadership Fund, Kaszek Ventures, Monashees Capital, Global Founders Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures and individual investors, including founders of Nova Credit, Loft, Kavak and Runa.
Casai was also successful in securing a credit facility of up to $ 25 million from TriplePoint Capital, bringing its total liquidity to $ 48 million in equity and debt.
The grand tour is in part thanks to the company’s compelling value proposition, which offers customers not only places to stay equipped with a proprietary smart hardware hub and the Casai app, but also a Google Home, smart lights and TVs equipped with Chromecast, as well as a lounge where guests can stay before check-in or after check-out.
And while the company’s vision is now focused on Latin America, its management team certainly sees the opportunity to build a global brand and company.
The founding team also includes a Director of Revenue, Alberto Ramos, who worked at McKinsey, and a Director of Growth, Daniel Hermann, who previously worked for the travel and lifestyle company, Selina. Design manager Alexa Backal worked at GAIA Design, and its VP of experience, Cristina Crespo, previously ran WeWork’s international design studio.
“To successfully harness this opportunity, a team must bring together the expertise of consumer technology, design, hospitality, real estate and financial services to develop the world-class operations needed to deliver an experience. first-class, ”said Angela Strange, a general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, who sits on Casai’s board of directors. “When I met Nico and Maricarmen it was evident that they were laser focused and had unique expertise across all verticals, with unique perspectives on the consumer experience. “