London-based Lavanda, a proptech firm and flexible multifamily rental platform, has raised a $7.25 million round led by European VC firm Finch Capital.
The Thursday funding, which converts to approximately £5.3 million, also saw participation from U.S.-based Starwood Capital via European venture partner Concrete VC. As part of the round, Aman Ghei, partner at Finch Capital, will join the company’s board where he will sit alongside Justin Meissel, Chief Investment Officer of Henley Ventures, and Harry Hill, founder of Rightmove.
The latest round of investment brings Lavanda’s total funding to date to more than $15 million, or approximately £11.4 million.
Founded in 2015, Lavanda’s property management software aims to make it easier for property managers and owners of residential apartment buildings to outperform conventional rental yields. It does so by tapping into short- and medium-term rentals alongside more conventional long-term tenancies.
The proptech platform also works to optimize users net operating income (NOI) from student accommodation properties outside of the typical school term, and particularly during the summer months.
To do so, Lavanda’s platform leverages technology and data to identify and solve structural inefficiencies within each building. Its tech stack will review and optimize anything from building configurations, revenue management, renter retention and marketing materials. A good amount of its business model also relies on automation – think booking, branding, operations, CRM – to cut out repetitive task flows.
Since its founding, the company has worked with global real estate heavy hitters like JLL, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Savills, LaSalle, Long Harbour and Europa Capital.
“Rental demand has seen a fundamental shift,” said Ghei. “As people become increasingly familiar with the ease and experience of booking a home through Airbnb, they come to expect the same when renting their primary residence. To date, that’s just not been possible due to archaic leasing structures and a lack of enabling technology.”
According to Ghei, the pandemic was a catalyst for real estate operators around the world to accelerate digital transformations, which in turn has enabled Lavanda to build a global pipeline of more than one million apartments.
Now, with new funding in the bank, Lavanda will utilize this round to boost product development and growth across its current markets in the U.S., Europe, Australia and more recently, the Middle East.
Two weeks prior to its latest funding news, the proptech announced its entering into the Middle East in collaboration with Aldar, a UAE real estate developer and manager.
The joint venture claimed it will bring short-term rental stays to Abu Dhabi via a platform called Cloud Living, which will operate under regulatory framework overseen by the Department of Culture and Tourism.
In September of last year, Lavanda also unveiled a partnership with real estate services firm JLL to launch a booking platform targeting business and leisure travelers in the UK, coined JLL Short Stays. According to Lavanda, the platform is designed to provide a “more trusted and professional alternative” to major online travel agencies such as Airbnb and Booking.com.