The round includes existing investors Octopus Ventures and Shilling Capital Partners, and co-investor Caixa Capital. The angel investors backing the round are a who’s who of the European tech ecosystem, including the founders from Trivago, King.com, Klarna, Supercell, Albion, among others. New angel investors in this round join earlier Angel investor and founder of Zoopla, Alex Chesterman. The company will use this funding to continue developing its product, a global platform for student accommodation, and create a stronghold in new and existing international markets.
Uniplaces was founded in Lisbon in 2012 by three founders shortly after they had graduated university. Miguel Amaro, Ben Grech and Mariano Kostelec, who met while studying at Nottingham University and King’s College London, had become aware of how difficult and outdated the process of finding accommodation was for all students. Uniplaces, which was started with the founders’ own savings, has already grown to a team of over 120 people.
The site has seen fast growth, having expanded into 38 cities in Europe from just six last year. It has over 40,000 furnished rooms in its inventory, and has generated more than $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.
The investment follows an earlier round of $3.5m from Octopus Investments which completed in October 2014, bringing the total funding to just under $30m. At the start of 2015, Uniplaces took on investor and advisor, Martin Reiter, the former Head of International Operations at AirBnB to aid its international expansion.
Ben Grech, Co-founder of Uniplaces, said: “We are committed to transforming the student experience. We started by helping students manage their accommodation, but this is just the beginning of what we can do for students around the world. It all comes down to making their university experience easier and more enjoyable. This new funding will help us reach that vision.”
Miguel Amaro, who studied with Ben at Nottingham University, said: “Our aim has been to make an overwhelmingly difficult process – usually steeped in bureaucracy, filled with all kinds of obstacles like outdated ads, misleading information, schemes and scams – streamlined and modern, by taking it online. It’s the best way to serve an increasingly mobile student population.”
Mattias Ljungman, Partner at Atomico said: “Uniplaces is solving a major pain point among students everywhere. 160 million young people in higher education are looking for a better way to manage their university housing experience. It is great to see this team from Lisbon that’s rethinking the overall student experience, starting with housing.”
Rebecca Hunt, Investment Director, Octopus Ventures, said, “We have believed in the team at Uniplaces right from the start, and we are really proud to be able to continue to support the business for a third time in this latest round. Uniplaces is an exciting, fast growth business – tackling a huge and growing market in the global student market. We’re delighted to welcome Atomico to the Board and look forward to working with them and the team to continue growing the business.”