Israeli resort suite booking company Sweet Inn has raised $22 million in a round led by Israeli growth fund Qumra Capital (partners Erez Shachar, Boaz Dinte and Sivan Shamri-Dahan). Additional investors in Sweet Inn included the BRM Group and other European investors. This is Sweet Inn's first investment from external funds. Until recently, the Company was solely funded by the French-Israeli Besnainou family.
Sivan Shamri-Dahan and Erez Shachar from Qumra Capital as well as Arie Nahmias from the BRM Group will join the board of directors of Sweet Inn.
Founded in 2014 by CEO Paul Besnainou, Sweet Inn enables tourists worldwide to combine the benefits of a 4-5 star hotel and a resort suite that can be ordered online directly from Sweet Inn's site, or through the major online travel agencies such as booking.com, Expedia, Agoda and more.
Besnainou said, "The immense popularity of Airbnb has revolutionized global tourism. However, the apartments offered at Airbnb are of varied standards and the hospitality experience is not consistent. For this reason, we decided to move into this space and offer an alternative hotel experience to people who appreciate quality. Sweet Inn offers a uniform high standard and an opportunity to stay in high quality apartments in the major cities and enjoy a local, authentic visit."
Sweet Inn operates some 350 apartments under a distributed hotel model in tourist destinations such as Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Lisbon, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The company rents apartments under long term lease, renovates and designs them according to the local character, on a high level and with a unique touch. The apartments are then leased out to tourists for short stays. Guests staying at Sweet Inn's apartments can benefit from additional services such as transportation, catering, cleaning, laundry, deliveries, car rental, tourism recommendations and a local lobby available around the clock.
The funds raised will be used by Sweet Inn to expand its operations in Europe and increase the number of rooms offered in the cities in which it is present as well as to enter new cities such as London, Amsterdam and Milan. Over the next two years, Sweet Inn is also planning to venture into the US.
The company also continues to develop its technological platform which supports its strategy and digital marketing and will hire 80 employees for this purpose for its offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Sweet Inn has 150 employees, including 30 in its headquarters in Israel. David Sayag recently joined the Company as CTO to accelerate the development of the technological infrastructure of product provisioning and client support. Prior to joining Sweet Inn, Sayag served in a similar position at Gett.
Qumra Capital partner Sivan Shamri-Dahan said, "Sweet Inn is creating a new niche in the travel tech market for tourists who are looking for personalized, authentic and high quality hospitality that come with strong certainty in terms of the product. Our current investment represents a new type of venture capital investments: products which are not inherently-technological but their success depends on their technological robustness." She added, "Platforms which gain access to critical masses of data on target audiences and enable fast decision making and effective digital marketing are the ones that will offer better, more personalized services that attract consumers from the traditional markets."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 15, 2017
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