Airbnb and Jetsetter better step up their local luxury game. Today, onefinestay, the London-based home-rental company announced it would be heading stateside, flush with $12 million in financing, and ready to open up its “unhotel” model in New York City. What, exactly, is an “unhotel”? Basically, just a fancy way of saying Airbnb for the fabulous set or Jetsetter’s Homes listings. The company finds high-end private abodes, takes care of the photography, marketing, and insurance, and offers amenities like linens and cleaning.
Global investment firm Canaan Partners, which has offices in New York and Silicon Valley, led the round. Existing investors Index Ventures and PROfounders also participated. Index has certainly been a busy beaver. Since revealing its new $442 million fund Sunday night, Index has already announced four deals, including New York darlings Codecademy and Shapeways. (Onefinestay cofounder and CEO Greg Marsh spent three years on Index Ventures’ IT investment team.)
“Two years ago, we hardly dared dream that owners of high-end homes would be so receptive to our business model,” Mr. Marsh said in the press release. Of course, in that time, Airbnb, which was founded in 2008, has popularized the concept and onefinestay, launched in London in 2010, has benefitted from consumer comfort levels with letting strangers into their homes. (HomeAway, which was founded in 2005 with more typical vacation fare, and went public last summer, currently has a market cap of $1.74 billion.)
But don’t count Airbnb out of the luxe life just yet. While onefinestay has two offerings currently available at more than $1,000/night, Airbnb has more than 50 New York City listings over $1,000/night, the highest being an Upper West Side duplex one block from Central Park inexplicably priced at $9,999/night. Wait, maybe Airbnb is the Airbnb for rich people?