News Briefs


Presso, Creators of the World’s First EcoRobo Garment Care Machine, Raises $8M Led by Early Fitbit VC Uncork Capital

presso kiosk

Presso, the company establishing a new standard of clothing care with the world’s first line of on-demand, low-carbon, express garment care machines, today announced that it has raised $8 million in seed funding from Uncork Capital, 1517 Fund, AME Cloud Ventures, Cherubic, HAX, SOSV, Pathbreaker Ventures, VSC Ventures, and YETI Capital. The news comes after a breakthrough year in which Presso launched the 11th iteration of its machine and brought its total bookings to 89. 

At a time when brands and consumers alike are more climate conscious, Presso is stepping in to provide the only automated service that offers garment cleaning at a fraction of the carbon footprint, water consumption and speed of previous solutions. In addition, Presso creates revenue generating opportunities for enterprises -- especially the hotel industry, which faces severe labor shortages as we enter the post-pandemic era. 

“We’re incredibly excited to back the work of Nishant and Thibault, who have achieved a lot more than your typical seed-stage startup. By helping hotels profit from garment cleansing, Presso is supporting the post-pandemic economic recovery of the hospitality sector,” said Jeff Clavier, Managing Partner of Uncork Capital. “While battling labor shortages, Presso provides a perk that draws valuable clientele and promotes increased loyalty without diverting labor resources from other guest services. The Presso mission to introduce a new standard of garment care is a very exciting use case for us at Uncork.”

“Before we had a Presso, a guest would need to find the garment care bag in their closet, call down to the front desk, and the concierge would fill out a paper slip with the number of items, pick them up from the guest’s room, and send it out for delivery. In two or three days, the guest could have their items back. At one point, we couldn’t even offer the service because it was too resource-intensive – guests wanted it, but we couldn’t provide it. Presso condenses all those steps all on-site,” said Dipan Patel, CEO of Buckhead America Hospitality Group.

"There is nothing like Presso on the market today. We’ve created the first AI-powered line of on-demand, low-carbon, express garment care machines,” said Nishant Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of Presso. “Our mission is to make on-demand clothing care accessible to everyone and we’re proud to do it in a more sustainable way.” 

Presso offers novel benefits to the hospitality and residential and commercial real estate industries:

  • Low Carbon: Compared to traditional dry cleaning services, Presso uses 7X less water and 3X less electricity and reduces the carbon footprint of today’s clothing care by 93%. While 70% of dry cleaners use carcinogenic cleaning solvents, Presso opts for organic and compostable cleaning liquids. With gentle care of each garment, Presso increases the lifetime of garments by over 400%, combating excessive textile manufacturing, a leading cause of landfill saturation.

  • On-Demand: Traditional garment care services have a 2-3 day turnaround time; Presso reduces that by 360X. Because of this shortened turnaround time, Presso machines can clean up to 150 garments daily.

  • Improved Operations: For the hotel industry, staffing shortages make workers' jobs even harder, and hotels are missing out on revenue because they don’t have the staff to handle dry cleaning requests. Presso’s solution reduces staff time on housekeeping calls, paper receipt handling, and manual accounting. Company estimates suggest that top-line revenue improvement potential is at least $17,000 per property per year.

  • Top-Line Revenue: Presso boosts dry-cleaning service usage at existing spots like hotels and creates new revenue opportunities for multi-unit and office spaces that want to take advantage of empty space and, simultaneously offer a perk to tenants, employees or guests. Since the machines are automated, Presso serves a top-line revenue without staff lifting a finger.

  • AI-Powered Robotics + Stretch AI: Presso’s cameras collect garment data, while A.I. and computer vision automate robotics. Image processing within the system will enable further automation in the future, including automatic fabric detection, reduction in processing time, and, eventually, fully autonomous garment clipping. 

This new round of funding brings Presso’s total amount raised to $10.1M and additional investors include Buckhead America Hospitality, a southeast based hotel and real estate development company, and TISHMAN℠ (“Tishman”), a New York based real estate and investment firm with a long track record of developing and acquiring assets with a focus on New York, Chicago, and Florida.  

If you are a hotel, apartment or commercial real estate operator and would like to improve your operations, team productivity, and engagement, please visit


CX Automation Platform Raises $6M


Akia, a customer experience automation platform,  announced a $6 million Series A funding round.

Since launching in 2019, Akia has consistently achieved 3x year-over-year growth, operating primarily in hospitality. The current market conditions, ongoing labor shortage, and post-pandemic impact have increased demand for Akia's automated customer engagement framework. Akia has helped thousands of businesses eliminate monotonous paperwork, automate processes and drive engagement to better serve consumers and increase efficiency.

Mighty Minis

According to industry estimates, 75% of app downloads are not used more than once. Akia’s Mini Apps are mobile experiences that don’t require download or login. From the business perspective, where native apps fall short - costs, maintenance, and engagement challenges - Mini Apps fill these gaps with better accessibility and usability. Companies using Akia’s platform produce more results by leveraging Mini Apps to automate and expedite day-to-day processes like identity verification, security deposit collection, or even contactless hotel check-in.

The shift towards a contactless first approach and the ongoing staff shortages have created a prime opportunity for Akia to make a splash in the market. Akia is well-positioned to take advantage of these favorable conditions and will continue to expand its reach and impact.


QR Code Customer Engagement Platform Raises $25M

qr code

Beaconstac, a QR code customer engagement platform,  announced $25 million in Series A funding led by Telescope Partners, with participation from existing investor, Accel. The funding underscores the strong market demand from businesses for Beaconstac’s SaaS platform resulting in profitable revenue growth of 200% over the course of 2022.

Over the past 12 months, Beaconstac has helped businesses of all sizes create and track 1.8 million QR codes that were scanned over 150 million times by consumers. These numbers will continue to accelerate as the number of unique US smartphone users scanning a QR code is poised to reach 99.5 million by 2025. 

This new funding will enable Beaconstac to further develop its platform, build a world class team, and ultimately enable new and existing customers to adopt QR codes as a means to create personal connections with a wide audience at scale, and bridge physical world customer experiences to digital. 

Beaconstac is trusted by large enterprises such as Marriott, and is a leading QR code platform on G2 reaching 20,000 customers in September 2022.


Hospitality Has a New Labor Resource with Debut of shiftNOW


shiftNOW announced the launch of its software solution designed to connect hospitality's finest brands to quality talent.

Founded in 2022, shiftNOW provides a flexible solution to one of the hospitality industry's greatest challenges - talent. The industry is plagued by a labor shortage that is causing a ripple effect on businesses' operating hours, revenue, and overall success. According to the National Restaurant Association, 72% of operators ranked recruitment and retention of their workforce as their top challenge. Fractures in the industry's workforce have only been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and compounded by other macroeconomic factors, like inflation and the "Great Resignation". 

With shiftNOW, hospitality businesses can remove the hassle from hiring by streamlining open shifts and controlling how their business is resourced. The easy-to-use platform enables businesses to post open shifts and select the best candidate from a network of qualified, vetted talent. Every verified candidate undergoes a thorough, one-on-one vetting process led by the shiftNOW recruitment team.

"Hourly workers are increasingly seeking autonomy over when, where, and how they work, making it challenging for businesses to find consistent, quality employees," said shiftNOW founder and CEO, David Wise. "shiftNOW is fulfilling a critical need in the hospitality industry - qualified talent that's available and ready to work. We're making shiftNOW synonymous with quality – we want our clients to have the best workforce and our users to have the best experience."

Exclusive hourly opportunities with competitive pay are now available to qualified individuals through shiftNOW's mobile app. Individuals seeking hourly opportunities can browse the Shifter by shiftNOW app for available shifts in their area and get matched based on their experience.

With a focus on serving restaurants and bars, hospitality groups, event venues, golf courses, and country clubs, shiftNOW is dedicated to bringing high-quality talent to premier establishments.

shiftNOW is currently operating in Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina with plans to expand throughout the Southeast and beyond.

To learn more about shiftNOW, visit

Hourly shift workers can download the Shifter by shiftNOW mobile app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.


Marriott International Announces Instant Booking Solution for Meetings and Events With Groups360

hotel room with groups360 and marriott logos

Marriott International and Groups360 announced the launch of Instant Booking for Marriott’s portfolio of hotels in the United States and Canada. Marriott International is the first brand to have a direct integration with Groups360 to offer the “Instant Book” functionality for both guest rooms and meeting space at scale on GroupSync Marketplace, providing planners with a streamlined booking process at the click of a button.

As the meetings and events landscape becomes more dynamic, many planners are currently challenged by the lengthy sourcing and contracting process, especially for smaller events. The need to book meeting space separately from guest rooms only adds complexity. GroupSync’s direct integration with Marriott now offers planners access to real-time best available group rates and inventory at over 1,500 Marriott properties across the United States and Canada, with additional growth expected throughout 2023. Once the instant booking is completed on GroupSync, hotels receive instant notification for faster handling and execution of small meetings.* This new capability significantly reduces planning time and directly addresses the needs of Marriott’s group customers.

In addition, planners now have the benefit of viewing inventory availability before submitting an RFP for more complex events at all Marriott hotels globally. The combination of these new capabilities turns the “sourcing” process into the “shopping” or “buying” process, simplifying the way planners book meetings.

“Through our collaboration with Groups360, we can now deliver real-time instant booking through GroupSync Marketplace at hotels in the U.S. and Canada,” said Drew Pinto, Global Officer, Global Sales, Distribution and Revenue Management, Marriott International. “This offers our group customers what they have told us they are looking for, which is a much more seamless and efficient booking experience. Our industry-leading integration with Groups360 will also allow all Marriott hotels globally to receive and respond to RFPs quickly and efficiently through a two-way response process. This will be a win-win for both planners and hotels.”

“We are thrilled to have Marriott International join GroupSync Marketplace. Event organizers benefit not only from instant booking for rooms and space but from à la carte catering and equipment ordering, too,” said Kemp Gallineau, CEO, Groups360. “Their involvement is a testament to the commitment to reduce friction in group travel planning and help hoteliers, like Marriott, enhance their customer relationships. With the addition of Marriott International, we anticipate that over 20,000 leading hotel properties will be equipped to offer online group booking in the months ahead.”

Marriott is celebrating the GroupSync Marketplace launch by giving away 1 million Marriott Bonvoy® points with the Plan to Win Giveaway. To enter the giveaway, instantly book your small event for the chance to win 30,000 points, or book a larger event using GroupSync's streamlined RFP process at one of Marriott’s extraordinary hotel brands for a chance to win 20,000 points. Visit Marriott-GroupSync Giveaway for complete details and rules.

*A small meeting is defined as 10-25 guest rooms on peak and/or events for up to 50 attendees, starting 4 days out and up to 1 year out with a maximum length of stay of 7 days.


Optii Solutions Launches Data Analytics Team to Double Down on Advanced Predictive Technology

logo, company name

Optii Solutions, the leading cloud-based hotel operations software, announced today an increased investment and focus on advanced technologies and analytics, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

By creating a formal data analytics team, Optii Solutions will ensure that its use of these advanced technologies will continue to play a key role in its product development strategy going forward. After extensive conversations with customers over the last 12 months, it is clear that AI and ML are central to the increases in operational performances at Optii customer hotels. It’s also one of the main drivers of differentiation for the company in a field of static task management systems it competes against.

Dino Pietropaolo, Chief Technology Officer, Optii Solutions, said: “When we look at our competitors, it is clear that hotel operations technology based on digitizing traditional ways of working has reached a point of diminishing returns. We see the rate of performance improvements fall off a cliff just a few months after implementation with these solutions. While AI and ML has been a part of Optii’s approach, we have an exciting runway in how we leverage these technologies. Soon, Optii will be able to make an impressive set of decisions and predictions that can make operations the most advanced part of the hotel. And it will never stop learning.”

Hotel operations have been traditionally labor intensive, and while this will never go away, those in operations positions at hotels will soon have access to tools that will dramatically change the operational decision-making process.

Katherine Grass, Chief Executive Officer, Optii Solutions, said: “The micro and macro challenges facing the hospitality industry are real, and it’s our job as technologists to put our best foot forward and help solve these challenges. In this case, we recognize that the use of advanced technologies is optimial and Optii’s strength. The efficiency and productivity gains Optii customers are seeing today are really just the beginning. With the use of Optii, I foresee hotel operations leaders pushing the boundaries in new ways, and their roles within their respective organizations being elevated. Their level of impact on the business as well as guest experience will reach new heights.“