Ayenda Rooms received $ 1.2M from Softbank recently, Colombian newspaper El Economista reported. Ayenda is a startup that incorporates small and medium-sized hotels into its franchise to increase the occupancy rate of its rooms.
Softbank’s investment in Ayenda passed after the Colombian startup announced that it billed one million dollars in its first year of operations.
Ayenda Rooms, a fast-growing startup
Andrés Sarrazola, a serial entrepreneur, founded Ayenda. Sarrazola started Ayenda after selling his digital marketing agency that had hotels as main clients. The startup started as a company that offered software services to manage hotels, but Sarrazola realized that the needs of the hoteliers were different.
“We wanted to understand what it was that hurt them. We realized that our tool cost 150,000 Colombian pesos per month ($ 50) and it hurt to pay, “said Sarrazola.
Hoteliers, on the other hand, invested more than $ 1000 per month in platforms to promote their hotels, such as booking.com. The idea of Sarrazola was to pivot Ayenda to a hotel franchise. Ayenda rescues small hotels and unifies them into a single brand. So far, the chain has 45 hotels in Colombia and aims to reach 120 hotels by the end of this year.
Softbank previously invested in a company similar to Ayenda: Oyo Rooms, a startup that is currently the largest hospitality company in India. The Japanese conglomerate invested $ 90 million in 2016 in this company for its expansion. In 2017, Oyo managed to raise $ 250 million in an investment round led by Softbank and finally received a billion dollars in September 2018.
“Without a doubt, SoftBank’s support will be vital to the company’s growth at a national level, because we plan to increase our coverage in other Colombian cities and then introduce our platform to other markets in Latin America. With this investment, we know that we have added the right partners to climb Ayenda internationally, “said Andrés Sarrazola.