WhyHotel rebrands as Placemakr and raises $90m

WhyHotel rebrands as Placemakr and raises $90m

[Credit: Placemakr Premier SoBro]

US: Tech-enabled hospitality platform and operator, WhyHotel, has rebranded as Placemakr after raising $90 million in equity investment.

The company said that it is expanding its brand and business model to meet the evolving needs of a market changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Placemakr will use the investment primarily for growth and property acquisitions, having secured committed capital towards its target of $1 billion of property acquisitions within the next 24 months – $250 million of which was completed in 2021.

It will also focus on expanding into new markets, beginning with Placemakr Premier SoBro in Nashville, Tennessee, and integrating the best aspects of home and hospitality into one experience. The company bids to become one of the largest holders of blended apartment and hotel assets in the United States.

As new societal norms such as remote working emerge from the pandemic, consumer demand for flexible living options has rapidly increased – a key driver for the rebranding. Placemakr wants to fulfil the needs for the next generation of living and staying, while simultaneously increasing property value and NOI for its real estate partners.

Placemakr will offer two product types:

  • A pop-up hotel experience, which will now be known as WhyHotel by Placemakr, and the company’s collection of hospitality living properties.
  • The latter, at varying tiers of amenities, will be known as Placemakr Premier, Placemakr, and A Placemakr Experience. In addition to continuing to partner with building developers and investors through property management, the company will look to expand its portfolio of owned properties, such as Placemakr Premier SoBro, under this new umbrella.  

Jason Fudin, co-founder and CEO of Placemakr, said: “When we started the company, we envisioned a flexible future, where the needs surrounding where we live and how we travel converge. We realised that this would create the opportunity to engineer a new real estate asset class that bridges the hotel and apartment world and is more valuable than either product alone.

“That future came even quicker than we imagined and has allowed Placemakr to be the premier brand, tech-stack, operator and real estate investor in this new world. We are excited to double down on our growth to meet this market.

“By investing in our flex platform technology, scaling our operations, investing in our brand and expanding our portfolio of owned and managed real estate, we are positioning the company to be the leader in what promises to be a multi-trillion dollar asset class,” he added.

Placemakr Premier SoBro is described as a “luxury high-rise” offering over 300 total units, one third of which will offer unfurnished residential apartments with hospitality amenities. The remaining units will be furnished for short- and medium-term stays beginning in July 2022, giving guests and residents the flexibility to stay for anything between a night and a year.

The building itself offers top-tier amenities, including a fitness centre and sauna, outdoor pool and whirlpool, outdoor fire pits and gas grills, lounge space and a 24-hour concierge. It will be the first Placemakr Premier location to launch.

Placemakr has previously partnered with Davidson Kempner Capital Management, Gaw Capital and Bernstein Management Corporation on real estate investments, and traditional real estate players, including Suffolk Technologies, Geolo Capital and JBG Smith, have invested in the operating company.

Prior to this investment round and rebranding, WhyHotel had secured almost $34 million in funding, including a $20 million Series B funding round in late 2019.

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