News Briefs

01/20/2023

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Selects Shiji’s Concept to Power its Members’ Spa and Golf Management

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Shiji teaser logo

Shiji announced that its product, Concept, has been selected to offer the spa, golf, and resort activities management platform as a preferred provider to its member properties.

Curator currently includes 97 independent boutique and lifestyle hotels and resorts across the U.S. After an extensive competitive process, Curator selected Shiji’s Concept as a preferred solution given its’ track record in the hospitality space. Some of the key benefits are the sophisticated back-end resource management platform, open-API environment, capability to be an all-in-one management platform across on-property activities, including spa and golf, and commitment to continuous improvement of the platform.

"Shiji is an ideal preferred partner because of their proven commitment to service quality and incredible reputation as a leading golf, spa, and activities technology provider in the upscale and luxury hotel market," said Austin Segal, Vice President at Curator Hotel & Resort Collection. "Through this partnership, we are proud to offer Shiji’s Concept Spa and Golf to our member properties as a robust solution that, with its scalable and module-based solution, can drive both operational efficiencies and increased guest satisfaction for properties of every size."

With more than 20 years in the industry, Concept, a Shiji product, is an industry leading Golf, Spa and Leisure technology solution provider for hotels and resorts in over 70 countries around the world. The solution also boasts open API integration capability allowing hotels to choose from dozens of existing integrations or develop custom ones to connect guest fulfillment solutions across payments, inventory management, loyalty, and more. It is known as the most complete Spa, Golf and Activities solution for hospitality, with a world class local support infrastructure.

“We are excited to partner with Curator’s independent member hotels and offer Concept spa, golf and activities management solutions that empower them with innovative technology, to deliver an enhanced guest experience, and a measurable ROI. At Shiji we look forward to working with property managers to take their technology stack into the future and help manage guests and data efficiently, and reduce operational costs,” said Dan Bell, Senior Vice President of Shiji Americas.

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01/20/2023

Akia Raises $6 Million in Series A Funding to Scale Automation Technology

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Akia, a customer experience automation platform, announced a $6 million Series A funding round. California-based venture capital firm Altos Ventures led the financing with additional participation from GSR Ventures, who led the previous seed 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.

In an app-fatigued world, where over 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.

”Securing this new round of funding from Altos is really a validation of our vision,” said Evan Chen, CEO of Akia. “Consumers are tired of poorly made chatbots, waiting on hold for call centers, or downloading apps for single use. We are committed to developing innovative products and services that help businesses respond more effectively and quickly to the changing needs of their customers.”

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.

"Akia is paving the path for the next generation of tech-enabled services,” said Jim Dai, Partner at Altos Ventures. “The hospitality sector has faced numerous challenges in recent years and will need a system like Akia to delight customers while improving efficiency. We are thrilled with Akia's momentum and have complete confidence in its leadership and long-term vision."

01/20/2023

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

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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 getpresso.com

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01/19/2023

CX Automation Platform Raises $6M

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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.

01/19/2023

QR Code Customer Engagement Platform Raises $25M

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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.

01/18/2023

Hospitality Has a New Labor Resource with Debut of shiftNOW

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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 www.shiftnow.com.

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