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Onefinestay, the UK-based home-sharing site, finally confirmed the $40 million funding round, with participation from Hyatt Hotels, that it picked up late last year and CEO Greg Marsh vowed to maintain its “very deliberate” expansion pace.
It is easy to see why five years after its founding the upscale, home-sharing site is still basically only in four cities — London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles — because its style of sharing economy rentals comes with more than 700 employees.
Marsh says while it is fashionable to pivot, Onefinestay is operating today basically the same way it always has and will scale “in the right way” city by city. “We are not an Internet company although we use the Internet for marking,” Marsh says.
The business involves Onefinestay employees visiting and vetting each home it rents, and that means it has to have a hefty workforce.
The funding round, which Marsh says was carried out by a syndicate of companies, is a Series D round that includes participation from Intel Capital, Quadrant Capital Advisors, Hyatt, and angel investors Joss Kent, CEO of &Beyond, Richard Chen, Venture Partner of Ceyuan Venture, and Mark Dempster, former marketing partner at Sequoia Capital. Index Ventures and Canaan Partners, which are prior investors, also participated in the round.
The round brings Onefinestay’s total funding to nearly $81 million.
Marsh won’t provide a lot of detail on what Hyatt’s participation in the round means other than to say that some in the hospitality industry view the renting of upscale homes as complementary to the hotel business, particularly for business travelers and families.
For its part, a Hyatt spokesperson says the chain wants to see what it can learn about the guest experience in the sharing economy and is basically taking an observer role with Onefinestay for now.
The funding round announcement coincides with several new-hires, including CFO Tom Singer, previously group CFO at InterContinental Hotels; Nick Ruotolo, formerly president of Vistaprint Europe, as chief commercial officer, and chief technology officer Petros Demetriades, who most recently served as CTO of Hellas Direct.