Hotel startup Selina said Monday it had acquired the brand and customer base of Remote Year. The pandemic has knocked both businesses sideways. But the deal offers Selina a new path to a promising segment of demand for its hotels and hostels in 19 countries that already include co-working facilities.
The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the all-stock transaction. Remote Year, a Chicago-based program that lets employees work in a different global city every month, raised $5 million in funding last year and $17 million since its founding in 2015. The pandemic led Remote Year to pause its operations in mid-March, when it laid off about 50 people, or the majority of its staff.
Selina, a Panama-based company that provides travelers with co-working spaces, hostel-style lodging, and activities, raised about $60 million in extra funding earlier this year, sources told Skift. The startup declined to comment on the funding total but has previously disclosed raised $225 million in venture equity funding from investors such as Access Industries, Grupo Wiese, and Colony Latam Partners. It had also secured more than $300 million for a real estate investment fund.
“At Selina, we have always supported flexible remote work models and believe they result in an increase in productivity and a reduction in turnover for businesses,” said Selina co-founder and CEO Rafael Museri.
Selina will continue to keep Remote Year as a brand, which built up a pre-pandemic business for digital nomads whose jobs allow them to “work from anywhere.” Selina will refocus on longer-term stays and its remote work offering, Museri said.
In a related move, Selina rolled out in August a couple of subscriptions that make it simpler for remote workers to book extended stays at its properties.
One subscription, called Nomad Passport, lets travelers buy 30-, 60- or 90-night credits at discounted rates. Another, called Selina CoLive, lets digital nomads stay at any Selina property for a one-, three- or six-month stay. A corporate program lets companies buy passes for their workers. Each plan covers a seat in the co-working area at each property.
The move illustrates how many travel companies are trialing subscription services.
Remote year doesn’t yet have a timetable on when it will resume accepting customers. It had until now offered 1, 4, 6 and 12-month programs, in a dozen cities, including Mexico City, Medellin, Lima, Santiago, Split, Lisbon, Valencia, Cape Town, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Chiang Mai, and Kyoto. The program had cost between $2,000 and $3,000 a month plus an initial payment.
Earlier this month, it signed a deal with The University of California, Irvine Division of Continuing Education (DCE), to offer a certification program for specialized studies in leadership, where the university will provide a curriculum with remote coursework led by its instructors.
Note: Skift previously had one colleague do Remote Year, which enabled her to learn about multiple cultures.
Photo Credit: People on the Remote Year program talk with each other at a New Orleans co-working space in 2019. Selina has acquired Remote Year. Remote Year
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