Companies could end up harnessing Airbnb veteran Stanley Fourteau's new venture Ukio, which has the backing of Travelperk's CEO, as a means to take back control of the remote work conversation.
Future of Work
As organizations start to embrace distributed work and virtual meetings, the corporate travel and meetings sectors are preparing for change. Read Skift’s ongoing coverage of this shift in business travel behavior through the lens of both brands and consumers.
A former Airbnb executive is counting on remote workers to fuel his new accommodations venture, which looks to fill a gap he spotted during his seven-year tenure at the homesharing company. But its premise might seem controversial to some.
There’s no longer any real question over the rising demand for remote work, but with his startup Ukio, Stanley Fourteau wants to position long-term stays in designer apartments as a corporate perk.
“Our plan is to integrate with travel agencies,” said Fourteau, who was previously Airbnb’s head of global growth for Experiences and general manager for Latin America. “Our vision also is when we get to a certain size in certain markets, we want to work with employers to give it as an employee perk."
Hear Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Speak In Person at Skift Global Forum in NYC September 21-23
The idea is that employers could offer two to three months to employees based on stays within Ukio’s network.
One of Ukio’s angel investors also happens to be Avi Meir, the co-founder and CEO of corporate travel agency Travelperk, which recently raised $160 million. “We’ll integrate with Travelperk when the world of business travel returns,” Fourteau added.
For now there are limited options, with 100 apartments available in Spanish cities Barcelona and Madrid. Ukio takes on unfurnished apartments from owners, typically offering them seven to 10-year contracts, guaranteeing them a rent every month. "It's a big commitment, but a lot of investors want a guaranteed yield for a long period of time. They’re risk averse," Fourteau said. Design plays a big role in their refurbishments.
Ukio will add properties in Lisbon within weeks, with plans for Berlin and London in the pipeline; it's gearing up to announce a new fundraise, which would follow ealier funding from investors including Heartcore Capital. In 2019, Denmark’s Heartcore was among venture firms that raised $484 million for GetYourGuide.