Connect with us

Top Stories

SPOTAHOME HAS RAISED $25 MILLION IN FUNDING

Published

on

SPOTAHOME HAS RAISED $25 MILLION IN FUNDING
  • Focused on mid- to long-term rental accommodation, Spotahome facilitates home rentals from any location in the world in minutes, without the need to physically visit the property.
  • Operating in nine different countries (Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and UAE) and 16 cities across the EMEA region, in the three years since its founding the company has closed contracts of $71.1 million in value for landlords and rented out more than three million nights of accommodation.

Spotahome, the online platform for accommodation rentals for mid- to long-term stays, has added  $16.1 million to a Series A investment round, bringing its accumulated capital raised to $25 million since the company’s founding in 2014. The rounds have been led by Passion Capital and Seaya Ventures. Other investors who either joined this round or invested through other rounds in 2015 and 2016 are HOWZAT Partners, Samaipata Ventures, Arthur Kosten, Nordic Makers (Klaus Nyengaard, Alexander Aghassipour, Thorvald Stigsen, Hampus Jakobsson), Jon Uriarte and Ander Michelena, Gate 93 Ventures, Mexico Ventures, Apostolos Apostolakis, Gura Investments, Charlotte Street Capital, Samos Investments, Modara Technologies, Mark Zaleski as advisor and others are the investors, who have put their trust in the disruptive business and between them previously contributed to the successes of other companies such as Just-Eat, Booking.com, Amazon, Zendesk, Yahoo!, Ticketbis, Trivago and Momondo.

Alejandro Artacho, CEO and co-founder of Spotahome stated “It is really inspiring to see all our previous investors from 2015 and 2016 following on in each new round. And for us, it is a great honour to have on-board Seaya Ventures and Passion Capital as our leading investors, and specially Beatriz González and Stefan Glänzer as Spotahome’s Directors.”

In the space of only three years and as of the end of last month (end-September), Spotahome has generated more than $71.1 million in total contract value for landlords, homeowners and property managers who have entrusted their rental properties to the company. With the company currently in a growth- stage with its revenue multiplying by four year-on-year, this latest capital raise will allow Spotahome to achieve several goals. Firstly, Spotahome will consolidate its presence in countries where it already operates, both to strengthen and extend its reach in each of those markets. Additionally, the company will invest in the continued development of digital and technical products to digitalise services in the value chain of real estate, which will improve the experience for both tenants and landlords. Finally, the company will continue hiring first-class international talent as it reinvents the real estate sector by making it more transparent and simple.

Beatriz González, Founder and Director of Seaya Ventures, stated “We are very excited to continue to support Spotahome in their goal to become the number one global long-term rental digital platform. The founders have done a terrific job and we are very honoured to lead this investment along with Passion Capital.” In addition, Stefan Glänzer, Co-founder of Passion Capital, said “It’s hard to be not blown away by the energy and capability of the Spotahome founders, making mid-term renting a pleasant experience.”

Alejandro Artacho, CEO and co-founder of Spotahome, said “This round is a significant boost that will allow us to continue our revolution of real estate. This sector has always had the scourge of being too traditional and not very innovative. At Spotahome, we are working hard to change this. Our mission is to reinvent Real Estate making it transparent, instant and exciting, loved at last.”

The world’s largest real estate video library

Spotahome’s business model focuses on the residential rental market, for mid to long-term stays. Through its simple website one can rent houses, rooms in shared apartments and student halls that can be viewed online thanks to HD first person video tours that shows details of the house, 360º high quality photographs and floor plans of each property, trustworthy descriptions and information about the neighbourhood. This process is possible due to the work of the “Home checkers”, members of the Spotahome team who visit every property to develop all the audio-visual material and verify the listing. This differentiating attribute is what has made Spotahome the first digital video library in the real estate sector, accumulating high quality audio-visual material for more than 40,000 properties in Europe and the Middle East.

Founded in 2014 by Alejandro Artacho (CEO), Bryan McEire (CTO), Bruno Bianchi (COO), and Hugo Monteiro (VP of Engineering), users from more than 185 different nationalities have booked more than 3 million nights of rental accommodation via the Spotahomewebsite since then, backing the company’s business model that is firmly committed to removing the need for physical property viewings.

Benefits and guarantees for landlords and tenants

The company offers additional guarantees to safeguard landlords in case of eventual contract cancellation, guarantee against payment default and coverage of home damages, but also to avoid multiple home visits thanks to its video tour system through high-definition videos and 360º. Spotahome also offers big benefits to tenants: Customer service in 9 different languages, secured bank transactions through payment gateways and last-minute cancellation insurance.

Spotahome is deemed to be the perfect partner by property managers as well as other real estate participants, thanks to its transactional business model and how it applies big data by advising new real estate investors, providing profitability figures per region or city area, customer trends and much more.

Team and human talent

In only three years Spotahome already employs around 200 people of 30 different nationalities at its headquarters in Madrid, and additionally the company collaborates with more than 100 freelancers as “Home-checkers” across the different countries where the company is operating.

Top Stories

Investing into a more sustainable future: changing businesses from the inside out

Published

on

Investing into a more sustainable future: changing businesses from the inside out 1

By Shawn Welch, Vice President and General Manager of Hi-Cone Worldwide

As industries across the world are facing unprecedented uncertainty and anticipating the economic implications of the current health crisis, business leaders have the unique opportunity to seize the chance to make lasting, positive changes and re-interpret the business challenges in a positive way – without forgetting or minimising the toll the pandemic has taken. When trying to identify a way forward, the future must be sustainable. We must take this opportunity to find a more sustainable way for businesses and manufacturers to survive.

Environmental and economic concern have only increased the gap on what consumers want – more sustainability – and how much progress businesses can make without risking their viability. However, rather than giving up on ambitious goals, maybe we need to reframe the way we look at sustainability. So far, businesses have tended to react to consumer demands, often without looking into the long-term implications and research-based due diligence one would expect. Therefore, now is the right time to be more deliberate: to continue on the path towards a truly sustainable ‘new normal’, businesses need to consider the bottom line impact more than ever before and truly invest in changing their business models to become more sustainable.

Shawn Welch

Shawn Welch

To meet the UN’s ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, businesses ultimately must thrive – working towards establishing a circular economy remains crucial. Instead of a linear ‘extract, use, dispose’ approach, materials need to be respected and re-used as many times as possible, which is only possible if products are designed for re-use, re-manufacturing, repair or restarting. After all, any and all consumption comes at a price. In manufacturing, processes draw on resources to produce items that, once they have served their purpose, become surplus to requirements. Yet, to ignore this is to take an incomplete view of sustainability: instead, materials are extracted from waste to re-enter production processes. Reuse and recycling initiatives are central to this and great strides have been made in raising awareness of this need. The full environmental cost of production and consumption includes the choice of materials themselves but also the level of carbon emissions generated, and energy consumed.

Once products and processes have redesigned for a circular approach, this initial investment will often easily be recouped, especially if we start with looking at the facts when starting this crucial process. To make the Circular Economy a focus for any business very often means changing the business model. Here, investing in research and development is vital. In the packaging industry, for example, we are seeing that customers and consumers are increasingly more focused on sustainability, and that surprising changes can unlock societal and business value. Through minimising a product’s carbon footprint or making recycling easier for consumers, lifecycle-assessment-based product redesigns or using recycled plastics instead of larger quantities of cardboard, companies are identifying these more creative options and enjoying the long-lasting benefits that come with implementing them. In any case, leadership is key. A research-driven approach gets everyone on-board and seeing management committing to these goals as part of business plans helps cement these. At a recent Reuters Responsible Business Summit virtual panel, I was part of an interesting conversation. Here, Yolanda Malone, Vice President Global R&D Snacks PKG, PepsiCo, discussed how leaders have to drive the behaviours within the organisation and the tone for the culture. She explained that her sustainable plastics vision is a world where plastics never become waste. Only through putting the mantra of “reduce, recycle, rethink and reinvent” can we bring circular products to consumer. She stressed that, if we don’t reinvent, we will fall back into old habits.

Of course, consumer behaviours play a part and the easier the solution, the more likely consumers will get behind it. End consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of packaging. So, to be truly circular, we need to take into account the entire lifecycle. Mindset change needs to continue to happen. Consumers need to be clear about what their choices are. To achieve this, we must change our businesses from the inside out, allowing for close collaboration inside and outside of our organisations. Other organisations – such as governments and recycling organisations – will need to be involved in businesses’ efforts, multiplying the impact our investments will have. We must address all aspects of sustainability and, for example, have better recycling, a focus on infrastructure and emphasis on consumer education. To recover, reuse and recycle, the R&D must be in place and dedicated to sustainability. Partnerships are important as we, as other leading global companies realise, cannot do this alone. Collaboration is key when investing in a more sustainable, more Circular, future.

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Securing Information Throughout the Supply Chain – Preventing Supplier Vulnerabilities 

Published

on

Securing Information Throughout the Supply Chain – Preventing Supplier Vulnerabilities  2

By Adam Strange, Data Classification Specialist, HelpSystems 

The financial services sector is experiencing extreme disruption coupled with rapid innovation as established institutions strive to become more agile and meet evolving customer demand. At the same time, new market entrants compete fiercely for customers. Increasing operational flexibility, through the deployment of cloud infrastructure or via digital transformation initiatives, is critical for future competitiveness but it has also driven regulatory and security challenges, particularly around working with suppliers.

That said, the benefits of a diverse, interconnected supply chain are compelling: agility, speed, and cost reduction all weigh on the positive side of the equation, prompting financial institutions to pursue close, collaborative relationships with suppliers, often numbering in the hundreds or thousands.

Weakness in the supply chain

On the negative side is the increased cyber threat when enterprises expose their networks to their supply chain. In our modern interconnected digital ecosystems, most financial organisations have many supply chain dependencies and it only takes one of these to have cybersecurity vulnerabilities to bring a business to its knees.

As a result, breaches originating in third parties are common and costly – a Ponemon Institute/IBM study found that breaches being caused by a third party was the top factor that amplified the cost of a breach, adding an average of $370,000 to the breach cost.

Concern around the supply chain was also evidenced in a recent report we have just issued, whereby we interviewed 250 CISOs and CIOs from financial institutions about the cybersecurity challenges they face and nearly half (46%) said that cybersecurity weaknesses in the supply chain had the biggest potential to cause the most damage in the next 12 months.

But sharing information with suppliers is essential for the supply chain to function. Most financial services organisations go to great lengths to secure intellectual property, personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data internally, yet when this information is shared across the supply chain, does it get the same robust attention?

Further amplified by COVID-19

Financial service organisations have always been a key target for cyber attacks.  Our research showed that since COVID-19 hit, the risk has elevated further, with 45% of the respondents seeing increased cybersecurity attacks during this period. Likewise, hackers are rejecting frontal assaults on well-defended walls in favour of infiltrating networks via vulnerabilities in suppliers.

But financial services organisations must maintain reputations and ensure customer trust. Firms are keen to demonstrate that they are protecting customer assets, providing an ultra-reliable service and working with trustworthy partners. So, what can they do to better protect their supplier ecosystem?

At the very least, they need to ensure basic controls are implemented around their suppliers’ IT infrastructure.  For example, they must ensure suppliers maintain a secure infrastructure with a minimum of Cyber Essentials or the equivalent US CIS certification controls. Cyber Essentials defines a set of controls which, when implemented, provide organisations with basic protection from the most prevalent forms of threats, focusing on threats which require low levels of attacker skill, and which are widely available online.

Likewise, they need to ensure good information management controls are in place and this begins with accurate information/data classification. After all, how can you apply appropriate controls to your information unless you know what it is and where it is?

How ISO27001 helps organisations put in place a data classification process

The international standard on information security, ISO27001, describes the basic ingredients for data classification to ensure the data receives the appropriate level of protection in accordance with its importance to the organisation. It comprises three basic elements:

  • Classification of data – in terms of legal requirements, value, criticality and sensitivity to unauthorised disclosure or modification.
  • Labelling of data – an appropriate set of procedures for information labelling should be developed and implemented in accordance with the organisation’s information classification scheme.
  • Handling of assets – procedures for the handling of assets developed and implemented in accordance with the organisation’s information classification scheme.

Adoption of this methodology will help financial services organisations and their supply chain take a more data-centric information security approach. However, there are essentially four key stages for implementing a data risk assurance supply chain approach and these are:

 1. Approval – in organisations with complex supply chains senior management, vendor management, procurement and information security will all need to support a robust risk-based information management approach. Details of previous incidents and their impact alongside the business benefits will be essential to gain stakeholder buy in.

 2. Preparation – Organisations should start with Tier 1 suppliers and initially identify the contracts with the highest business impact/risk. They should identify and record information repositories and the data that they contain together with the responsible business owners. Define a business taxonomy based on information categories of that data and include supply chain factors such as what information categories are shared.

For example, they need to understand the business impact of compromise against each of the information categories. Have any suppliers suffered security incidents? What assurance mechanisms are in place? Once all this information is collated the organisation can create a data classification policy and define a set of controls for each data category.

 3. Discovery – Select each data category and identify the associated contracts. Then prioritise the data category based on the risk assessment and verify that the data security controls and arrangements for each data category and contract meet the overall requirements. Once complete, hand over the contract for inclusion in the vendor management cycle.

4. Embed process – the overall objective is to embed information risk management into the procurement lifecycle from start to finish. Therefore, whenever a new contract is created there are a number of actions required which embed data risk at each stage of the bid, tender, procurement, evaluation, implementation and termination phases of the contract.

To summarise, organisations should start by researching the information risk and security frameworks such as ISO27001 and others. They should then focus on defining their business taxonomy and data categories together with the business impact of compromise to help develop a data classification scheme. Finally, they should implement the data classification scheme and embed data risk management into the procurement lifecycle processes from start to finish. By effectively embedding data risk management and categorisation into their procurement and vendor management processes, they are preventing their suppliers’ vulnerabilities becoming their own and are more effectively securing data in the supply chain.

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19

Published

on

Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19 3

Organizations in the Middle East have had to take immediate actions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shifting to remote and virtual work, implementing new ways of working and redirecting the workforce on critical activities. According to Deloitte’s 10th annual 2020 Middle East Human Capital Trends report, “The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward,” organizations now need to think about how to sustain these actions by embedding them into their organizational culture.

“COVID-19 has created a clarifying moment for work and the workforce. Organizations that expand their focus on worker well-being, from programs adjacent to work to designing well-being into the work itself, will help their workers not only feel their best but perform at their best. Doing so will strengthen the tie between well-being and organizational outcomes, drive meaningful work, and foster a greater sense of belonging overall,” said Ghassan Turqieh, Consulting Partner, Human Capital, Deloitte Middle East.

According to the Deloitte report, many organizations in the Middle East made quick arrangements to engage with employees in the wake of the pandemic through frequent communications, multiple webinars where senior leaders addressed employee concerns, virtual employee events, manager check-ins, periodic calls and other targeted interactions with the workforce.

The report also discussed how UAE and KSA governments have reexamined work policies and practices, amended regulations and introduced COVID-19 initiatives to support companies and the workforce in the public and private sectors. Flexible and remote working, team-building and engagement activities, well-ness programs, recognition awards and modern workspaces are among the many things that are now adding to the employee experience.

Key findings from the Deloitte global report include:

  • Only 17% of respondents are making significant investments in reskilling to support their AI strategy with only 12% using AI primarily to replace workers;
  • 27% of respondents have clear policies and practices to manage the ethical challenges resulting from the future of work despite 85% of respondents saying the future of work raises ethical challenges;
  • Three-quarters of leaders are expecting to source new skills and capabilities through reskilling, but only 45% are rewarding workers for the development of new skills; and
  • Only 45% of respondents are prepared or very prepared to take advantage of the alternative workforce to access key capabilities despite gig workers being likely to comprise 43% of the U.S. workforce this year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Worker well-being is a top priority today, and similarly to the rest of the world, companies in the Middle East are focusing their efforts to redesign work around well-being by understanding workforce well-being needs,” said Rania Abu Shukur, Director, Human Capital, Consulting, Deloitte Middle East.

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2020
2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards now open. Click Here

Latest Articles

Beyond Transactions: The Payment Revolution 4 Beyond Transactions: The Payment Revolution 5
Finance3 hours ago

Beyond Transactions: The Payment Revolution

By Marwan Forzley, CEO of Veem  The uninterrupted disruption brought on by the pandemic accelerated the need for robust, digital-first...

The UK’s hidden payments crisis: why businesses should rethink their payments strategy 6 The UK’s hidden payments crisis: why businesses should rethink their payments strategy 7
Finance3 hours ago

The UK’s hidden payments crisis: why businesses should rethink their payments strategy

By Edwin Abl, Chief Marketing Officer at Modulr. As the economic conditions imposed by the Coronavirus endure, businesses are facing a...

Investing into a more sustainable future: changing businesses from the inside out 8 Investing into a more sustainable future: changing businesses from the inside out 9
Top Stories3 hours ago

Investing into a more sustainable future: changing businesses from the inside out

By Shawn Welch, Vice President and General Manager of Hi-Cone Worldwide As industries across the world are facing unprecedented uncertainty...

Securing Information Throughout the Supply Chain – Preventing Supplier Vulnerabilities  10 Securing Information Throughout the Supply Chain – Preventing Supplier Vulnerabilities  11
Top Stories4 hours ago

Securing Information Throughout the Supply Chain – Preventing Supplier Vulnerabilities 

By Adam Strange, Data Classification Specialist, HelpSystems  The financial services sector is experiencing extreme disruption coupled with rapid innovation as...

RegTech 2020: The rise of Open Banking 12 RegTech 2020: The rise of Open Banking 13
Banking5 hours ago

RegTech 2020: The rise of Open Banking

This month on the RegTech 20:20 podcast, host Alex Ford is joined by industry experts Gavin Littlejohn, Chairman of The...

The case for AI technology adoption in financial back-office roles to improve efficiency 14 The case for AI technology adoption in financial back-office roles to improve efficiency 15
Technology7 hours ago

The case for AI technology adoption in financial back-office roles to improve efficiency

By Tomas Gogar, AI CEO, Rossum In this era, digital transformation isn’t anything new. Nonetheless, it can still cause a...

Gain financial regulation qualification online 16 Gain financial regulation qualification online 17
Finance7 hours ago

Gain financial regulation qualification online

Gain financial regulation qualification online   Warwick Business School in partnership with the Bank of England are delighted to offer...

COVID-19: Dealing with fraudulent applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme 19 COVID-19: Dealing with fraudulent applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme 20
Finance11 hours ago

COVID-19: Dealing with fraudulent applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme

By Ed Lloyd, EVP Global Head of Sales, Encompass The COVID-19 pandemic is still having a devastating impact on businesses...

EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection 21 EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection 22
Business12 hours ago

EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection

By Andrew White, Partner and UK & European patent attorney at intellectual property firm, Mathys & Squire The EU Commission...

InsurTech is helping to drive the digital evolution of the UK motor retail industry 23 InsurTech is helping to drive the digital evolution of the UK motor retail industry 24
Technology12 hours ago

InsurTech is helping to drive the digital evolution of the UK motor retail industry

By Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO & Founder If the last nine months have made anything clear, it is that the...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now