This NYC Startup Just Raised Another 26M to Move Hotels into the

first_imgThis installment of Funded in the Alley is presented by Bond Collective. Leading the way in hospitality and luxury offices space, Bond Collective designs workspaces to empower individuals and companies to be themselves. Rather than fit you into a limited, traditional office environment, Bond 60 Broad features larger 15-50+ person suites customized around your needs: privacy with access to community, concierge service, views of the Statue of Liberty, sound booths, and designer furnishings, just to name a few. Focus on your dream, and we’ll handle the rest.Lodging in a hotels should afford you the convenience and service of an entire hotel staff, yet due to outdated and fragmented platforms, the process is rarely seamless. Thankfully, ALICE is fixing this. Its platform gives you the power to connect via text and the app to provide services and information from the hotel.  Behind the scene, the app’s backend is used by hotels to connect every department of the hotel to provide stellar service for guests through improved communication.  The SaaS platform takes hotels from using legacy systems to a streamlined platform that ultimately improves revenue for properties and results in cost savings.AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Justin Effron about the startup and discussed the details on their most recent round of funding.Who were your investors and how much did you raise? $26M Series B, led by Expedia.Tell us about your product or service.ALICE is an operations platform that empowers hotels to deliver a better guest experience through consistently excellent service. ALICE can be used by every department of a hotel (such as the front desk, the concierge, valet, food & beverage, maintenance and engineering, and housekeeping) to improve staff communication and task management. ALICE can also be used by guests (in the form of an app or text messaging), as a convenient way to request services and information from their hotel.What inspired you to start the company?We were inspired by the exceptional service improvements of companies like Uber, Amazon, and OpenTable. We wanted to understand how we could apply their insights to improving the guest experience in a hotel. We started with guest-facing technology – specifically a mobile app – thinking that’s what set these companies apart, but we soon learned that in all these cases, the app was simply an access point to a new infrastructure for delivering service. The difference between these companies and hotels, it turned out, was hotels’ inability to leverage technology on the back-end or staff side. So, we broadened our focus to see staff and guest technology as equally important, building out an end-to-end operations platform to connect hotel staff and staff to guests. In solving the staff side of the equation, hotels can now deliver a better guest experience.How is it different?We’re the first in our industry to leverage the platform approach to hotel technology. ALICE’s value proposition is that we not only provide tools for every department of the hotel – thereby consolidating your system costs – but we also connect every department and every staff member with the same technology. This streamlines communication and task management, meaning no guest request or internal work order slips through the cracks, it also provides management with a holistic view to hotel operations in a way that’s not possible with siloed, fragmented technology and communications (which is the industry norm). Additionally, we offer a guest-facing component of our technology – a guest app and text messaging (which doesn’t require an app download) – bringing our origin story full circle and also letting hotels provide their guests with the convenience of choosing how they want to communicate with their hotel.What market you are targeting and how big is it?ALICE can be used by every service business – which is almost every business today – but our primary partners include 3-5 star independent and managed hotels, hotel groups, residential condominiums, serviced apartments, vacation rental companies, and concierge companies looking to provide exceptional service through mobile staff technology and guest communication channels.What’s your business model?We’re a SaaS company, and we also charge a one-time fee for setup and staff training.What’s it been like to work with a strategic investor like Expedia versus the traditional VC route?Expedia has been a fantastic partner and has provided us industry support in a way that a traditional venture fund might not have been able to. We’ve also had the luxury of working with traditional venture firms in the past, so we’ve really gotten the best of both worlds.What was the funding process like?Like any company, raising a round of funding takes a tremendous amount of effort and time, and this was no different. We’re excited to have gotten everything over the finish line.What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?Continuing to educate our audience as to why hotel operations is so important.What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?High growth, high engagement, and great reference clients.What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?We’ve already had a busy year. In the last sixth months, our customer base has grown 200%, and we’ve released popular new features of ALICE like Guest Text Messaging, which lets guests text with hotels (no app download required), the Guest Profile, which gives hotels a viewpoint into the guest experience across every department, and  Logbooks, which can be used to manage any item belonging to or loaned to a guest, including packages and lost & found.We’ll be using the funding to build out company departments including development, product, sales, and customer success. We’ll also be making additional announcements in the coming weeks that will have a big impact on the trajectory of the company in the next six months and beyond.What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?Raising capital takes longer than you expect, so give yourself enough time. It’s also always harder than you think it will be, so build a network for advice and build relationships with VC firms before you’re ready to raise. If you can continue to bootstrap without capital that’s great and an easier path, but much easier said than done.Where do you see the company going now over the near term?We’re excited about the recent round of funding, we have a strong pipeline of clients, and anticipate continued growth. We also have a few exciting announcements we plan to make soon.What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte New York This NYC Startup Just Raised Another $26M to Move Hotels into the Digital AgeAugust 30, 2017 by AlleyWatch 489SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Funded in the Alley, Funded in the Alley, Funding, Funding News, Hospitality, Interviews, Investments, News, Startups, Venture Capital Tagged With: 645 Ventures, ALICE, Expedia, Laconia Ventures, Neuehouselast_img

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