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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Ayenda Rooms wraps up US$8.7 million in round led by Kaszek Ventures

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Colombian hospitality startup Ayenda Rooms closed its Series A for US$8.7 million in an investment led by Kaszek Ventures, according to an announcement made today (19) by the startup. 

Kairos, Altabix, and BWG Ventures also participated in the round.

This recent funding will fuel the startup’s current expansion in Peru, where Ayenda Rooms debuted its arrival in October of 2019. 

For the moment, the startup’s platform that provides visibility, booking tools, and basic amenities (like toiletries and Wifi) to small-sized hotels in Latin America is only found in Colombia and Peru.

Oyo Rooms, a cautionary tale for Ayenda Rooms

Some compare Colombian Ayenda Rooms to Oyo Rooms. The latter being a hospitality startup from India that seeks to bring more visibility and a basic quality standard to small hotels, via franchising partnerships.

But many also know Oyo as another of SoftBank’s portfolio companies that’s struggling to achieve profitability and burning through cash as of late. And these troubles are attributed to overly aggressive growth.

The fact that SoftBank invested in the Colombian startup is something the pair have in common. Moreover, it also raises concerns as to whether Ayenda Rooms will face a similar scenario further down the line.

These comparisons are a lesson Ayenda Rooms has taken to heart.

“We’re not going to go into 10 countries or start buying other companies,” stated Andrés Sarrazola, the startup’s Co-founder. “We believe in self-sustainable growth instead.”

And in that sense, Ayenda Rooms aims to leverage Kaszek Ventures’ know-how on regional expansion to steadily consolidate itself in the two countries where it can already be found.

Walk a mile in their shoes?

It’s understandable where the angst towards Ayenda Rooms comes from. 

It sounds like Latam’s version of Oyo. The fact that they both hold spots in SoftBank’s portfolio doesn’t help either. Plus, the Colombian startup also handles a franchising model with its partnering hotels, as Oyo Rooms does. 

But there are some subtle variants.

For one, Ayenda Rooms is hinting at very slow and steady growth, contrary to its portfolio cohort, Oyo. Plus the Colombian startup hasn’t been involved in ugly scandals such as offering unlicensed rooms or bribery.

In addition, Ayenda Rooms partners with other businesses, like airlines, to encourage passengers to book their rooms via the startup’s platform. This is a different marketing strategy than simply just hosting a hotel on its platform.

In any case, there’s a saying in Spanish that goes, “nadie aprende en cabeza ajena” (no one can learn in someone else’s head). 

Meaning, nobody learns a lesson until they’ve lived it for themselves.

But it sounds like Ayenda Rooms is perfectly aware of what’s going on. And the startup certainly doesn’t want to walk a mile in Oyo Rooms’ shoes.

Nobody does.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Colombia!

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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