Montreal’s Flatbook is rebranding as “Sonder” amid a large fundraising escapade that will see the startup bank $10 million.
The startup formerly focused on providing premium short term rentals for travellers in select North American markets. With today’s announcement, Sonder will offer 500 “hometels,” which are places that possess the authenticity of peer-to-peer home rental along with the services of a hotel.
“According to a recent travel trends report, of the 16 percent of Americans who have booked a peer-to-peer rental, 40 percent say they still prefer hotels,” said the company’s CEO, Francis Davidson. “This data shows that while travelers want an authentic experience, they also demand the dependability and security offered by hotels. We founded Sonder because we believe travelers shouldn’t have to choose between authenticity and safety, service and amenities. The future of lodging is a hybrid we call hometels that will offer both.”
The good news didn’t stop at the rebranding. Sonder announced that it has raised $10 million in a funding round led by Spark Capital, with participation from Thayer Ventures, Real Ventures, BDC Capital, and others. The funds will let Sonder “focus on growth initiatives such as expanding into new cities, enhancing the guest experience and onboarding key new hires.
The startup has now raised a total of $15 million in venture capital.
Sonder says its “Hometels” are located in “desirable, often intimate neighborhoods” and include houses, condos, apartments and even boats. At launch, Sonder offers more than 500 hometels in six cities in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Diego, Montreal and Vancouver. The company will launch spaces in Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto later this year.
Sonder’s team of employees handle quality control with all of its spaces, providing a “more reliable experience for travelers.” Every “hometel” must pass a 237-point checklist to join the Sonder Collection. Neighborhood Guides will encourage Sonder travelers to explore, eat, drink, and shop locally.
Moreover, Sonder’s customer support team addresses guests within minutes by email, phone, and Facebook Messenger, 24/7.