"We Got Funded!" UAE-Based Silkhaus Raises Undisclosed Multi-Million-Dollar Pre-Series A Round As It Doubles Down On Expansion Plans Silkhaus' tech-driven platform promises asset owners an income that is 20-40% more than what can be earned via traditional rental models.
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Silkhaus, a UAE-headquartered proptech startup that focuses on short-term rentals, has raised an undisclosed multi-million-dollar amount in a pre-Series A funding round led by Partners for Growth (PFG), a US-based global financing partner that provides flexible growth debt and asset-backed financing. The agreement also entails Silkhaus receiving an additional multi-million-dollar credit line that will be dedicated solely towards the startup's expansion plans.
Launched in 2021, Silkhaus operates across the MENA region -with bases in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and another one set to open soon in Riyadh- as well as South Asia and Southeast Asia. Built with a vision to disrupt the short-term-rentals market, Silkhaus adopts a tech-driven approach to provide asset owners with infrastructure tools to manage and monetize properties, which in turn promises them an income that is 20-40% more than what can be earned via traditional rental models.
"Our technology empowers real estate owners with the tools they need to succeed and thrive," says Aahan Bhojani, founder and CEO of Silkhaus, in an interview with Entrepreneur Middle East. "For example, our dynamic pricing solution helps drive revenue generation and growth, by using live market rates, optimizing occupancy and revenue. Our real estate owner portal provides property owners with real-time insights, fostering transparency and collaboration with our partners and educating them on the potential of the enormous short-term rental asset class they are part of."
But Silkhaus' tech-driven model was built with a goal of not only aiding asset owners in the UAE, but to also ease the many aspects involved in searching for a short-term rental property for oneself, Bhojani adds. "Automation and integration with major platforms -such as including Booking.com, Airbnb, and Expedia- maximize our listing reach," he adds. "Our corporate booking portal addresses corporate client needs, allowing direct bookings at competitive rates. We also use our technology to elevate the Silkhaus experience for guests and their demand for a digital-first and contactless stay. This includes self-check-in with smart locks, prioritizing guest safety, and our staff time management. The platform prioritizes operational efficiency of our service teams through task management software, guaranteeing seamless task scheduling."
Silkhaus' operations thus far have not gone unnoticed in the market, and have held the startup in good stead. Since its inception, Silkhaus properties have served guests from more than 120 countries, and in 2022, it also raised US$7.75 million from global investors in one of the largest seed rounds in the GCC. "Our journey since launch has been extremely encouraging, with technology underpinning our growth of 120% in the past twelve months," Bhojani says. "This success has attracted collaborations with prominent developers and real estate industry leaders, further accelerating our trajectory, and making us one of the fastest growing short-term rentals proptech firms in the region."
It is precisely such milestones that eventually led to PFG's interest in Silkhaus as well. "Through the use of technology, Silkhaus is reinventing how landlords and institutional investors are able to monetize their asset base," says Armineh Baghoomian, Managing Director and Head of EMEA at PFG. "Silkhaus' strong fundamentals have put them on the path to success and we are excited to be a part of their growth story."
According to Bhojani, his startup is now poised to only grow further given the anticipated trends within the UAE real estate sector in 2024. "The UAE real estate market continues to grow, with home sales in 2023 setting new records," Bhojnai highlights. "In fact, S&P [a global provider of credit ratings, research and insights for various sectors] anticipates about 40,000 new properties will be delivered in 2024. This means investors will have a range of choices from studios to large apartments when choosing a home to invest in. We also anticipate capital to flow in from around the world, particularly with buyers coming in from the UK, India, Pakistan and the GCC. Therefore, Silkhaus' key focus is onboarding new supply from different types of real estate investors. The delivery of these new properties will help us scale quickly, while driving solid returns of 20-40%, which is consistently higher than traditional rental models."
And with fresh capital under his belt now, Bhojani hopes that it can kickstart a new phase of growth for his startup. "This is an exciting time for us as we plan for our future growth; this new funding is going to enable just that," Bhojani declares. "For starters, we are going to double down on the markets where we are present already. We are amongst the market leaders in Dubai, and we recently entered Abu Dhabi with a strong presence. We are going to invest in growing supply on our platform, while catering to the needs of guests from the 120 countries who choose to stay in a Silkhaus property. Additionally, this capital will support our geographic expansion, starting with Saudi Arabia, where we are excited to enable the leadership's vision, and deliver high quality experiences for guests coming to the Kingdom."Related: The State Of Play -And The Road Ahead- For Startups And Investment In The GCC