Advertisement

Mews, the hotel SaaS startup, books $110M at a $1.2B valuation

Tourism continues to bounce back in the wake of COVID-19, with 2023 raking in $2.23 trillion globally, surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2020. That's having a big knock-on effect for startups building tech to serve the sector. Mews, one of the startups building tools to help hotels manage IT better, is announcing a growth round of $110 million to capture more business.

The funding -- led by Kinnevik -- is coming in at a $1.2 billion valuation post-money. That is a slight up-round on the Series C that Amsterdam-based Mews announced at the end of 2022, when Mews raised $185 million on an $865 million valuation. The company has confirmed to me that it is not profitable.

But it has been growing. The company's SaaS tools cover both tools for hoteliers themselves such as front-desk check-in, payments, reservations and housekeeping management, as well as for guests such as room and service booking. Although it does not disclose revenues or net loss, it notes that gross payment volume is now $8 billion, up from $2.3 billion at the end of 2022.

It said it now has more than 5,000 hotel customers, compared to 3,253 hotels a year ago. And while it has had some traction with the long tail of independent hoteliers, it's also brokered key deals with bigger chains like Accor, Generator-Freehand, The Strawberry Group, The Social Hub and Airelles.

Part of the startup's strategy to move out of the red is indeed focused on economies of scale: The company has now acquired eight other startups in the hotel IT space, including three in the last year (Frontdesk Anywhere, Hotello and Nomi).

Back in 2022 the company's founder and president Richard Valtr told us that the plan was to consider how to bring its tools to a wider set of customers beyond hotels, leaning into the Airbnb effect, where more private properties are co-opted as temporary accommodation alternatives.

“We think of ourselves as the platform on which businesses in our vertical are run,” he said at the time. “We take a broad brush approach with our ambitions. Mews nominally looks after hotels and hospitality, but that could be hostels or Airbnbs or services for people in mixed-use real estate. Longer term, we feel that what is considered commercial or residential is melding. This is the direction all real estate is going. What is happening post-pandemic is that more are realizing they want to live more of their travel life more of the time.”

Fast-forward to today and the company has tools available for serviced apartments but has yet to expand further in the residential market, nor to commercial properties, and its focus seems more squarely than ever on the hotel sector specifically.

"As more hoteliers embrace modern technology, we have a huge opportunity to help them streamline their operations," CEO Matt Welle said in a statement today.

That is perhaps the kind of focus rewarded these days among investors, too, who have generally reduced the number of growth rounds they are participating in in Europe, and are looking for more firm bets and exits among those that they are closing.

In addition to Kinnevik, Revaia, Goldman Sachs Alternatives, Notion Capital and new investor LGVP participated in this Series D.

“Mews is making a transformative impact to support some of the most innovative hospitality brands around the world as cloud adoption accelerates across the $15.5 trillion global travel and tourism industry," said Alexander Lippert, managing director in Growth Equity at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, in a statement.