Airbnb leads investment in rental brand Lyric

Airbnb is the main investor in a new $160 million funding round for short-term rental brand Lyric.

Along with new investors Tishman Speyer, RXR Realty, Obvious Ventures, SineWave, Dick Costolo and Adam Bain, and “other strategic real estate partners”, Airbnb’s involvement in Series B financing will “accelerate expansion to new US markets”, Lyric said in a statement.

Airbnb president of homes Greg Greeley said Airbnb was looking forward to supporting Lyric’s work.

“At Airbnb, we have seen how hospitality entrepreneurs like the team at Lyric can help deliver amazing experiences and help guests feel like they can belong anywhere in the world.

“Lyric has combined the latest technology, strong partnerships with the real estate community, and cutting-edge design, and we are excited to support their work.”

Lyric is a San Francisco-based real estate and hospitality company that leases and furnishes apartment complexes, then rents them on platforms like Airbnb, and HomeAway.

The company provides business travel accommodation in the form of “Creative Suites”, crossing traditional hotel accommodations with private Airbnb and other short-term rentals, catering to professionals looking for both short- and long-term stays, from one night to more than 200 nights.

From curated vinyl and local artisan coffee, to premium amenities and digital access, Lyric said its focus is on immersion and “a curated experience of the sights, sounds and tastes of the city.”

As of writing, Lyric has more than 500 rooms across 400 units in the United States. The latest financing round brings Lyric’s total funds raised to $185 million USD (more than $259 million AUD).

Each of Lyric’s short-term rentals and creative accommodations are also designed to reflect local culture and community, with the “productivity of a workspace, the inspiration of an artistic studio, and the amenities of a luxury hotel,” the company said.

Lyric Founder and CEO Andrew Kitchell (left), and Founder and President Joe Fraiman (right)
Lyric founder and CEO Andrew Kitchell (left) with founder and president Joe Fraiman (right)

“When people search for beautiful spaces or experiences, what they’re really looking for is a connection to a local community,” Joe Fraiman president and co-founder of Lyric said.

“From the music and artwork we hand-select, to the wallpaper we curate, our job is to be a storyteller for that community or building, and to help guests feel like they are a part of it.”

Fraiman hopes to get to 2,500 rooms over the next 12 months and to eventually expand beyond the U.S, Skift reported.

The Creative Suites are “spacious studios, one-bedroom or two-bedroom suites on full floors of premium, either multifamily or mixed-use buildings, in 13 U.S. markets,” Fraiman said.

All of the suites are powered by Lyric’s “unique”, proprietary software and data platform used to secure optimal site location and manage revenue, the company said.

The company’s technology also provides a “frictionless experience for the guest”, while maintaining safe, clean and consistent suites through automated background checks and digital access.

The company said in a written release that the financing will allow it to continue to expand its operations and support its “continued investment in its proprietary technology and data platform”.

With the latest $160 million round in funding, which is half equity and half debt, Lyric intends to grow its team and its portfolio.

Airbnb’s latest investment comes off the back of several initiatives toward building end-to-end travel by the company.

Earlier this month, Airbnb finalised its acquisition of HotelTonight—an online travel app that allows users to find discounted hotel accommodations throughout the Americas, Europe and Australia.

The company has also invested up to $200 million in India-based Oyo Rooms, while last year, also acquiring French property management company Luckey Homes for an undisclosed sum.