Let’s be honest, we all know the troubles and tribulations of house hunting. Not only are there the countless hours spent pouring over ads, arranging the viewings, etc., there’s also the bleh of paperwork, forms, registrations, bla bla bla. Yawn. And in a world where we were promised time-traveling DeLorean’s and hoverboards, why, dear God, why is this process still a thing?
What’s that former Zynga, EA, and Headspace product manager Jeremy Fourteau, and former Airbnb head of the global growth (and brother) Stanley Fourteau? You want to use a modern tech stack to drag the process into the 21st century and take that annoyance off my plate? Well, if my name is Breega, Heartcore, Partech and/or Coverwallet founder Iñaki Berenguer, and Travelperk founder Avi Meir, here, have $9 million and go do just that.
All quips aside, the brothers Fourteau have raised $9 million in seed funding to take on a process that really need not be such a hassle. Ukio has been established to bring the discerning home hunter a plateful of pre-vetted and fully-furnished apartments for monthly stays. Monthly you say? Why yes, I’m looking at you digital nomads. Or corporate housing. Or just get away from it all for a month people. Or simply the new 31% of the workforce that will be working remotely by next year.
Yes, it came as a shock to me too, but the world is actually starting to allow this unscrupulous behaviour again. May the heavens quake.
Capitalising on the downturn in the rentals market, Ukio is entering with impeccable timing (hmm, I wonder if the previous stints from both founders have anything to do with this? 🤔 ), and already has a portfolio of some 100 gorgeous flats in Barcelona and Madrid. Over the course of 2021, this portfolio has remained at 95% occupancy.
With the new funding, Ukio plans to move like a hawk and expand its customer base, as well as launch in Lisbon within the coming weeks. Overall, the company aims to operate 700 flats across six European cities.
Brother Jeremy explains further, “As the world becomes more mobile and flexible, the demand for more dynamic living experiences will continue to grow further. With this new funding and the support of our incredible venture partners and business angels, Ukio will continue to set a new tone for the housing market and lead the industry into the future of living.”
As hinted above, Ukio’s seed round was led by Breega, and saw the participation of Heartcore and Partech. Angel investors include Iñaki Berenguer, Founder of Coverwallet, and Avi Meir, Founder of Travelperk.
And on a sidenote, for those that are paying attention, Ukio is very close to the Japanese phrase Ukiyo (浮世), which “was an expression of the new economy and social ambitions of the common townspeople of the Edo period (1615-1868).”
More so, literally, uki, can be translated to, “floating," "cheerful," or "frivolous.", and the second character, yo, can be translated to "world," "generation," "age," "era," or "reign."
I’m not going to point to the roaring ’20s as an example here, but I’m going to point to the roaring ’20s as an example here. Coming out of 17 months of being locked in cages, Ukio could quite literally be serving up the home base(s) for the another roaring ’20s in a world that is very much in a state of float.