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Sustainable alternative to Airbnb: Bob W raises €40M to revolutionise hospitality sector

Bob W team
Picture credits: Bob W

The short-term rental sector has faced a need for more professional operators who can offer local authenticity, hotel-grade quality, and tech to elevate the experience. 

This is where Bob W, a Finnish tech-powered hospitality operator, comes into the picture. The company has now raised €40 million in a Series B funding round led by Evli Growth Partners and joined by growth capital investors and prominent European entrepreneurs, including Taavet+Sten, the investment firm of Wise’s founder Taavet Hinrikus and Sten Tamkivi, Flashpoint (which backed Welcome Pickups and Algori) and Supercell’s co-founder Mikko Kodisoja along with existing investors.

The funding enables Bob W to scale up and solidify its expansion across Europe and reinforce Bob W as Europe’s most-loved hospitality brand.

Sustainable alternative to hotels and rentals 

Founded by Niko Karstikko and Sebastian Emberger in 2018, Bob W provides a smarter and more sustainable alternative to hotels and short-term rentals. The company currently operates design-led, sustainability-focused, full-service aparthotels in 10 countries and 17 cities across Europe.

As per the company, each Bob W apartment incorporates its bespoke local design and technology that give guests both the consistency and quality of a lifestyle hotel, alongside the local authenticity and amenities of an actual home.

Bob W’s tech platform and a suite of web apps provide a seamless digital front desk experience backed by robust digital customer service and other fail safes, so guests always feel looked after. Super-early check-in or late check-outs can be instantly and automatically guaranteed based on live availability. 

Chat-based host

The in-app, chat-based perfect host ‘Bob W’ has been designed to be attentive enough that guests feel like they are receiving the best customer service with a human touch, even though there is minimal staff on site. Bob W’s local ‘marketplace’ also connects guests to local cafes, gyms, and facilities.

The company partners with local brands, artists, and manufacturers, sourcing décor close to each property. This practice aligns the guest experience with the local community and reduces emissions, thereby adhering to its sustainability goals. 

With dedicated apps for guests, cleaners, and operations, the Finnish startup comes with IoT integrations that allow it to remotely manage properties and gain insights into aspects such as temperature, humidity, and even noise through decibel detection sensors.

Niko Karstikko, co-founder and CEO at Bob W, emphasised, “Commitment to sustainability is at the core of our mission. We consider measuring and reducing our carbon footprint is a fundamental aspect of our business, and the principles penetrate our procurement practices, operations, and how we work with property owners. We acknowledge that we aren’t perfect, as no one is, but we believe in transparency with our guests and peers. By openly sharing our data, we help our guests make more informed decisions, particularly with our emissions per guest night (in kg CO2-eq) metric. We are pushing the industry to follow suit. Consumers deserve the facts laid bare.”

Mikael Hed, the force behind the Finnish game company Rovio’s growth story and a Growth Partner at Evli Growth Partners, said, “The hospitality industry needs bold disruptors like Bob W. The team is a pioneer in the new hybrid hospitality category, offering authentic, seamless travel experiences enabled by cutting-edge technology. Bob W’s growth demonstrates the team’s unique understanding of customer needs. We are excited to support the team in their next growth phase.”

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