Ritesh Agarwal, Ceo OYO
Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo borrowed heavily to buyback shares in his expanding tech-led hotel chain

Deals round-up | Oyo, Stashbee, SteamaCo, Genie AI, Hello Alfred

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Chloe Vaughan

Oyo, a rapidly expanding hotel chain founded in India enables users to book hotel rooms through a cloud-based app to simplify transactions. Oyo raised $2bn of investment from founder Ritesh Agarwal through a share buyback.

Three Japanese financiers, Mizuho, Nomura Holdings, and an unannounced third, were Agarwal’s principal lenders. Both Mizuho and Nomura are to take equity bets in Oyo. Nomura is set to invest a further $50m through a secondary share sale from Oyo’s largest shareholder Softbank, which is currently valued at $10bn.

Subject to the approval from current shareholders and regulators, the investment means that Agarwal’s stake in Oyo would triple from 10% to 30%.

Oyo has $300m to expand in the US. Currently, it offers over 50 hotels in 35 cities across the US, but is looking to move into cities it hasn’t already broached including New York City and San Francisco.

US backers Lightspeed and Sequoia are set to partially cash out and will receive $500m each and retain a smaller stake in the company.


SteamaCo Harrison Leaf CEO

SteamaCo chief Harrison Leaf

Manchester-based SteamaCo, a specialist technology provider to energy companies in Africa and Asia, announced its $5m series B equity financing.

SteamaCo’s latest funding round was co-led by Shell and Praetura Ventures along with participation from its existing shareholders.

SteamaCo uses smart metering technology and cloud software which can run on less than 100kb of data per meter per month. The installation of this tech into off-grid locations like Remba Island in Lake Victoria means more people have access to electricity through simple and more robust kit, built specifically for that environment.

Founded in 2012, SteamaCo has now implemented technology in Kenya, Nigeria and Mali, and plans to expand and reach the 2bn people who don’t have reliable access to energy across the globe.


Stashbee Team

Stashbee, an online platform for businesses and individuals to rent or share storage space, closed its £2.5m equity investment round on crowdfunding platform Seedrs from 886 investors. The firm’s automated online marketplace enables listing creation, automatic payment, invoicing, and ID checks.

The London-based firm said it is now the sixth largest storage provider in the UK and is currently growing by 70,000 sq ft a month. The company claimed to be on track to be the biggest storage provider in the UK by the end of this year.

Stashbee will use the funds to capitalise on its growth in storage facility acquisitions and expand its team.


Genie AI Ceo Rafie Faruq Machine Demonstration Last Year Barclay Labs

Genie AI ceo Rafie Faruq delivering a demonstration last year at Barclay Labs

Legal tech startup Genie AI announced its £1.2m seed round. It has also won an £800,000 grant from UK Research + Innovation. This seed round was led by VC firm Connect Ventures, alongside angel investors Lord Neuberger and Prof Jun Wang at UCL.

Genie AI’s ‘SuperDrafter’ software uses AI to scan thousands of documents and make recommendations about clauses during contract drafting, negotiation, and review. This results in a 52% increase in drafting efficiency according to 61 lawyers at a recent product demo.

Superdrafter is currently being trialled with law firms Clifford Chance, Pinsent Masons, and Withers. Depending on the success of this pilot, the seed funds will be used to further test SuperDrafter, and to develop a second product called ‘Anonymiser’ which automatically redacts confidential information.

Genie AI was founded in 2017 by Rafie Faruq and Nitish Mutha, who built Genie AI’s network whilst in residency at Barclay’s Lawtech Eagle Lab in Notting Hill.


Hello Alfred Acquires Bixby

New York  residential experience company Hello Alfred has bought building management tool Bixby.

Bixby was founded in 2016 by real estate developer Alex Ohebshalom and entrepreneur Mark Smukler. Hello Alfred was founded in 2014 by former Mckinsey employees, consultant Marcela Sapone, and engagement manager Jess Beck. Hello Alfred was named one of the top 50 most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company in 2018.

This acquisition will grow Hello Alfred’s footprint and increase its volume in Class B multifamily buildings with the potential to bring its services to other property types. Bixby currently services over 2,500 properties in the US and Canada.

Hello Alfred is set to integrate Bixby’s team of less than 10 with its 250 staff and merge its building technology into the acquirer’s existing offering.

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