Last year Uniplaces, startup founded back in 2012 which runs an online booking platform focused on student accommodation, pulled in £2.2 million ($3.5 million) in Series A funding led by Octopus Investments.
Today it’s announced that it has raised a $24 million Series A funding led by Atomico.
The startup, launched in 2012 by three ex-university classmates, aims to be a trusted, global brand for students, developing its product, a global platform for student accommodation, and expand into other markets.
The round includes existing investors Octopus Ventures and Shilling Capital Partners, and co-investor Caixa Capital. The angel investors backing the round include the founders from Trivago, King.com, Klarna, Supercell, Albion, among others. New angel investors join earlier Angel investor and founder of Zoopla, Alex Chesterman.
Uniplaces was founded in Lisbon in 2012 by former classmates Miguel Amaro, Ben Grech and Mariano Kostelec, who met while studying at Nottingham University and King’s College London.
Students seeking accommodation can currently browse descriptions of properties on offer, some of which can include a ‘Uniplace Verified’ badge — which means a company team member has visited the property to check it matches Uniplaces’ quality standards. The startup also handles payments and charges a one-off commission on bookings taken via its platform, and also sells a premium service option to landlords in exchange for an additional membership fee.
The site now operates in 38 cities and has over 40,000 furnished rooms in its inventory, and claims to have has generated over $25m in bookings for landlords since launch. Students from over 140 different countries have booked their student accommodation, for more than 500,000 nights, with Uniplaces.
Co-founder Miguel Santo Amaro told me:
“We’ll be investing in developing our platform and growing our product team. Obviously, we want to keep improving the experience of our users and continue to innovate to enhance our product leadership. A key part of our product strategy will be developing our mobile proposition, which we will be investing in heavily. That’s the tech part. In terms of geographic expansion we look to consolidate our market position in the key 9 european countries where we are operational (UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Austria, Portugal, Netherlands). Of course we always have an eye on new market opportunities, although we favour building our business off a solid foundation in core markets. USA, Australia, China, and Brazil already represent important markets for us on the demand side and we are excited to develop our position in these markets.”
There are some similar platforms for booking accommodation, such as Overseas Student Living and other more general rental sites such as Nestpick who have recently moved away from the student market. Other alternative services, on a more local level, include classified portals such as accommodationforstudents.co.uk or private groups on Facebook.