News Briefs

  • 3/12/2023

    Sextant Stays Rebrands as Roami and Announces $14M Series A Funding Round

    a person holding an umbrella

    Sextant Stays, a next-generation hospitality company, announced its $14 million Series A funding round and simultaneously unveiled a rebrand, with the company name changing to Roami. The funding round is led by Vigo Capital, bringing the brand’s total funding to $29 million.

    The company recognizes that travelers today are roaming the world differently than they did a few years ago — this rebrand is not just a name change, but represents the new reality of travel. Roami is shaping the future of urban travel by providing a space that is purposefully designed for groups, and six times larger than a typical hotel room. Each building is operated entirely by Roami, giving the brand creative control over the guest experience in its mission to inspire human connection. 

    “It’s been an incredible six years, and we are grateful for the success we’ve had, but there is much more to accomplish!" said Roami Founder & CEO, Andreas King-Geovanis. “We’re living in the most iterative moment ever to exist in hospitality, and are among a handful of brands writing the future of travel. None of this would be possible without our extremely dedicated and talented coworkers who continuously set new standards for the industry.”

    In the last three years, Roami grew 800% despite the most devastating crisis in hospitality since World War II. Following an explosive year — including its recent recognition on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list, 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 and South Florida Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies 2022 List — the innovative yet human-centered hospitality company had over $40M in revenue in 2022 and continues to grow. 

    "We're excited to introduce Roami as a brand built around what we’ve termed ‘Predictive Hospitality,'" said Roami COO, Brandreth Canaley. “Throughout the customer journey, our technology is collecting the dots and connecting the dots to anticipate guests’ needs before they even know they have them.” 

    Stemming from this success, Roami has acquired new buildings in existing markets, and recently expanded to West Palm Beach, totaling its inventory to over 500 units across South Florida and New Orleans. Roami will use the funding to continue expansion across local markets and beyond. 

    “It is great to celebrate our fundraise, but more importantly, we are celebrating what’s made this company successful,” said Roami CFO Iskander Karimov. “This is a business that should be funded by the guest, for the guest, and we are staying true to our belief: people, service, profits–in that order.”

    Founded in 2016, Roami, formerly Sextant Stays, was born from CEO Andreas King-Geovanis’ belief that travelers should not be forced to choose between two flawed options: cramped and expensive hotel rooms or inconsistent and unpredictable vacation rentals. By managing the entire building – not just a few floors or units – Roami provides a memorable stay without compromise. 

    “We’re proud to support Roami as they re-imagine the way the world lives, works, and travels” said Kirill Vinogradov at Vigo Capital. “The company’s consistent growth since 2020 despite volatile external conditions proves that they truly understand how to satisfy the needs of the modern Roamer and we’re looking forward to seeing their continued growth and expansion,” he added.

  • 2/6/2023

    Salad and Go Expands in Texas

    Salad and Go  salad and iced tea

    Up and coming QSR  Salad and Go  is expanding in Texas with three new locations opening in February in the Houston markets of Katy, Richmond and League City.

    The Katy store located opened February 1, the Richmond location at  is set to open February 17, and the League City store plans to open its doors on February 22. These new locations will mark the start of rapid brand expansion across the Greater Houston area.

    These suburbs were strategically selected as ideal markets for Salad and Go as some of the fastest growing communities in the region. Conveniently located in some of Houston's most popular suburbs, the new locations will provide fresh, high-quality meals with quick and easy convenience at an affordable price.

    As Salad and Go continues growing its national presence with a strong focus on Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nevada, the brand's expansive growth has it on a positive trajectory to provide fresh and affordable food to communities in more than 125 locations by the end of 2023. Houston is the next step in the brand's expansion across Texas with plans to open additional stores in the market throughout the new year.

    Salad and Go's chef-curated menu provides guests with food for any time of the day by offering a variety of delicious and healthy items including salads, wraps, breakfast burritos and soup as well as beverages including hand-crafted lemonades, teas and cold brew coffees.

    Salad and Go ensures each meal contains fresh, quality ingredients while keeping prices low by vertically integrating operations and distribution, and sourcing ingredients directly from high-quality local farmers and suppliers whenever possible. The brand's mission to make fresh, nutritious food convenient and affordable for ALL extends beyond its stores and is demonstrated in the work the brand does to donate 4,000 meals every week to those in need, as well as in partnerships with nonprofits to support and fundraise for various worthy causes.

  • 1/9/2023

    Focus Brands Accelerates Dual Branded Locations

    Foucs Brand dual branded Jamba Juice and Auntie Annes

    Focus Brands says dual branding is the future of QSR, and the parent company of Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s, is leading the charge. Today, the Focus Brands portfolio boasts 175-plus open dual branded units with at least 65 more in various stages of development across the country. 

    Drive-Thru Convenience

    The Focus Brands portfolio brands have signed agreements to open more than 50 dual and tri-brand locations in the coming year, many of which include drive-thrus for added convenience as interest in dual branded franchise opportunities continues to surge.

    Flexible Store Formats

    Focus Brands is among the brands introducing new store formats, including Krystal, Jack-in-the-Box and Panera Bread, which opened its Panera To Go, solely offering Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders.  

    Focus Brands has long pioneered the concept of dual branding, predominately in malls and non-traditional locations with Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon. Now, the company’s portfolio brands have found new opportunities with streetside dual branded units, which is paving the way for immense franchise growth. 

    “Dual branding is the future of our brands, especially on the specialty side of the business,” said Brian Krause, Chief Development Officer at Focus Brands. “There will always be a place in malls, but there is an immense amount of growth opportunity in streetside venues, and, by dual branding, there is more opportunity for enhanced revenue.”

    The company invested heavily in consumer research to identify how to create combinations of its iconic brands to resonate with consumers and meet them where they want to be met.

    Focus Brands has identified four dual-brand concepts:

    • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon
    • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon/Carvel
    • Auntie Anne’s/Jamba
    • Cinnabon/Carvel – Cinnabon Swirl. 

    While key consumer benefits vary by dual-brand combination, one consistent benefit has been convenience. Having these brands together in one location makes them far more accessible than they are individually. This convenience also creates opportunity for franchisees, as co-branding leads to an expansive menu that drives enhanced unit-level volume. 

     

  • 3/12/2023

    Helbiz Kitchen Opens Second U.S. Location

    Helbiz Kitchen opens in LA

    Helbiz Kitchen launches its second kitchen in Los Angeles, located in the Westwood area. This new location will enable Helbiz Kitchen to cater to a wider customer base across the city, in addition to the recently opened Santa Monica kitchen.

    Helbiz Kitchen is renowned for its commitment to high-quality products, with a strong focus on taste and flavor. The menu of each brand available in Los Angeles is the same as the menus offered in Milan, ensuring that customers can experience the same authentic taste and quality that Helbiz customers in Italy have come to expect.

    The first three brands, Burger & Sons, Pokaii, and What the Farm, will be available for customers to order via the Kitchen United MIX App, on-site kiosks, and third-party apps like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub.

    Helbiz Kitchen plans to open in Austin, Texas, and New York City later this month.

  • 3/10/2023

    Duetto Advance Unveiled at ITB Berlin

    duetto logo

    Duetto, a provider of Revenue Management Software (RMS), unveiled its premium revenue optimization product, Duetto Advance, at ITB Berlin.

    With event demand intelligence now ingested from PredictHQ, the introduction of Advance once again makes Duetto the industry’s Game Changer in revenue management tech. 

    Duetto Advance combines several industry firsts:

    • Instant events-related intelligence data from PredictHQ
    • Dynamic Optimization: all rates are optimized in real-time
    • CommandCenter: one easy-to-use customizable dashboard

    “Duetto Advance enables hotel revenue teams to optimize rates in real-time, using clean, usable data delivered in a visually actionable dashboard customizable to your revenue strategy needs. This is truly an industry first for our field,” said Darren Koch, Chief Product Officer, Duetto.

    “In today’s ever-changing market, real-time analytics that ingests market data as it happens is vital for hotels to complete and lead their markets,” Koch added.

    PredictHQ: The Duetto / PredictHQ integration provides event-related market intelligence, enabling revenue teams to be proactive about what is happening in their markets, taking calculated decisions on pricing and restrictions, and optimizing operations.

    "By incorporating intelligent event data into Duetto’s revenue management platform, we are unlocking a new way for businesses to make data-driven pricing decisions that optimize revenue and enhance customer experiences ahead of surges in demand. By using enriched event data to surface relevant, impactful events, it enables them to optimize and make calculated decisions around pricing in advance to match real-world conditions. Our system not only collects, enriches, and verifies millions of events every year, but it also provides sophisticated features which companies like Duetto can leverage to paint a complete picture of demand," said Campbell Brown, Co-founder & CEO, PredictHQ. 

    Dynamic Optimization: Provides real-time monitoring of market conditions to ensure pricing is responsive and dynamic. With powerful signal detection based on live booking activity, Duetto Advance can target situations where there is a sudden change in demand, resulting in an opportunity to quickly raise prices to capture the profit opportunity.

    CommandCenter: Enables hotels to Advance property and portfolio performance via an intuitive and actionable dashboard focused on current and forward-looking data points across the guest journey. This multi-property management portal will guide Directors of Sales, Operations, and Revenue Management to focus on what truly matters - driving more profitable outcomes.

    Duetto Advance is a premium addition to Duetto GameChanger – the world’s #1 RMS. GameChanger helps hotels maximize booking revenues and profits. It empowers hotels to sharpen revenue management strategies through innovative technology and its Open Pricing methodology. Duetto Advance will become available to Duetto users in Summer 2023.

    The Duetto revenue strategy platform also includes BlockBuster for contracted group business optimization. Working with GameChanger, BlockBuster helps hotel revenue teams discover the optimal blend of group and transient business at the right rate, at the right time.

    For reporting and forecasting, our ScoreBoard application enables revenue teams to create forecasts in minutes, create custom reports and receive business insights instantly in interactive dashboards.

  • 3/12/2023

    HID and iPassport to Bring New Identity Verification Solution to the Transportation Sector

    woman having her face scanned for security

    HID, a provider of trusted identity and physical security solutions, and iPassport, a provider of solutions that enable organizations to implement digital identity technologies, recently signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a new identity verification solution for the transportation industry. This solution will make its debut at the Passenger Terminal EXPO 2023, March 14-16 at HID Booth #1244.

    Navigating through the airport requires a sequence of touchpoints and processes—from check-in to baggage drop, security checkpoint, all the way to retail/duty-free shopping, lounge access and boarding. And with millions of travelers experiencing delays, cancellations, baggage mix-ups and the continued strain on airport staff, the passenger journey has become more complex than ever.

    Airlines need reliable and swift identity verification to provide passengers with a secure, seamless journey that’s long overdue.

    “Today, moving through an airport securely requires an ongoing and seamless identity verification system that not only enhances the passenger experience, but also optimizes efficiencies for everyone. HID is excited to collaborate with iPassport to bring this new solution to market,” says Vito Fabbrizio, Managing Director of Biometrics, Extended Access Technologies at HID.

    With HID’s modular approach, airlines and airport operators are now able to add identity verification capabilities quickly and easily to existing systems without having to “rip-and-replace" or perform expensive migrations to a new platform altogether.

    This modular solution includes the following components:

    • Facial Recognition Camera Hardware
    • Fingerprint, ID Document & Ticket Readers
    • Software Development Kits (SDKs)
    • ID Proofing & Biometric Server
    • Device Management
    • Biometric Professional Services

    With HID-patented multispectral imaging (MSI) technology and ethically trained artificial intelligence (AI) built within the HID® U.ARE.U® Camera Identification System, significant performance and matching accuracy are achieved.

    Use of facial recognition technology throughout the airport will depend on the passenger’s prior consent during booking or check-in. Additionally, the biometric information is only stored and used during the time the passenger is in transit within the airport to help address compliance with applicable with data privacy laws.

    Beyond airlines and airports, other segments of the travel industry, such as cruise ships and hospitality, can also benefit from:

    • Ethically trained and built AI to eliminate matching bias
    • Industry-leading presentation attack detection (PAD) to thwart spoof attempts
    • Superior performance amid challenging lighting
    • Automatic face detection, capture and image quality checks—even when wearing masks
    • On-device biometric processing with endpoint security for maximum protection

    To learn more about identity verification for air travel passengers, visit the website.

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