News Briefs


Tech-powered Hospitality Operator Bob W Enters Germany with Acquisition of Charly

Apartment exterior Bob W property

Tech-powered short-term rental operator Bob W has made its entry into the German market with the acquisition of Charly Hospitality.

Alternative accommodation specialist, Bob W, has built a reputation on redefining the hospitality experience by giving guests five-star, contactless service in locally-designed apartments within handpicked neighborhoods.

Based in Helsinki, Bob W currently operates 27 aparthotel & coliving properties across Europe — in the UK, Spain, Finland, Italy, Norway, Greece and Estonia. Its Charly acquisition means it now adds seven properties located in Germany’s Bonn, Munich, Berlin, Lübeck and Cologne, as well as Amsterdam in the Netherlands. All of these properties will move over to the Bob W brand during 2023.

Bob W acquired Charly because the two companies have a similar tech-enabled approach and design ethos, which results in a straightforward integration. Both offer a seamless digital front desk experience backed by robust digital customer service and other failsafes, so guests always feel looked after. Unlike Charly, Bob W has built its own tech platform along with a suite of apps. Both businesses offer short-stay apartments that give guests the best of both worlds — the authenticity and functionality of a private apartment, as well as the dependable quality of a hotel.

Bob W wants to continue to expand quickly across Europe but particularly in Germany. It is the largest domestic travel market in Europe, which the company expects will be its largest market by the end of 2023. By then it anticipates operating more than 40 properties in all territories, achieved through a mix of leases (rent-to-rent) and management deals, with the potential for further M&A activity. 

Bob W has grown rapidly since being founded just before the pandemic by Sebastian Emberger, who is from Germany, and Niko Karstikko, from Finland. Aside from organic growth, In May last year it acquired Estonishing Stay which, at the time, was the largest short-stay apartment operator in Estonia. The following October it bought Finnish competitor KOTI Hotel, simultaneously securing €21 million in series A funding, led by Elevator Ventures, Verve Ventures, IDC Ventures and Flashpoint.  

Niko Karstikko, co-founder and CEO of Bob W, comments: “We are super excited about entering Germany with Charly and adopting their world-class team. The locations and properties are gorgeous. Once we apply our tech and brand standards,  the next generation of travellers will have yet another place to call home with the most loved hospitality product on the market.

“We’re getting huge traction with our approach to tech and reinvented hospitality. Guests are responding very positively to the investment we make in their surroundings and in our customer experience, and that is translating into brand loyalty and repeat bookings. We offer travellers the best of both worlds — hotel and apartment — and our formula works. That’s what is driving our growth plans. We will continue to expand quickly but sustainably in existing and new markets where there is high demand for what we offer and the fundamentals add up.”


Charly Hospitality founder, Jona Schaeffer, said: “With Bob W, we have found the perfect home for our team and our portfolio of boutique aparthotels in Germany and the Netherlands. We strongly believe in Bob W’s potential to become the market leader in alternative accommodations in Europe and are delighted that Charly will play its part in it.”


Ditto Closes $45 Million Series A Funding Round to Expand Distributed Data Platform

new ditto logo teaser

Ditto, creator of a distributed data platform that enables apps to synchronize data in real-time even without internet connectivity, today announced that it has closed $45 million in a Series A funding round led by Acrew Capital, with participation from U.S. Innovative Technology Fund (USIT). Existing investors True Ventures and Amity Ventures invested additional funding.

Apps today assume data lives only in one place, typically a singular cloud database. However, the reality is far more complex. A combination of the rapid growth of mobile or other edge devices and global cloud infrastructure means applications need to store and process data everywhere. If apps can’t access important data, critical app processes break down until a connection is restored. Ditto’s Intelligent Edge Platform combats this by enabling data to be accessible anywhere 24/7, ensuring low-latency app processes.

The Ditto platform provides a distributed database that runs anywhere, from edge devices to the cloud, enabling real-time, flexible, peer-to-peer data distribution, even in areas that have limited or no internet communication. This allows applications to process and communicate data where it is generated, circumventing the necessity of a central server and providing resiliency and low-latency capabilities. 

Ditto is already generating substantial revenue, thanks to demand from the defense sector and major enterprise customers including Alaska AirlinesLufthansaJapan AirlinesHugo, and the U.S. Air Force. The company’s technology is critical to a range of industries including aviation, defense, point-of-sale, emergency, agriculture, healthcare, factory and warehouses, retail, and hospitality, where seamless connectivity and real-time data sharing are essential, regardless of internet availability. 

"Ditto’s long-term vision is to build the world’s next great database, with an emphasis on real-time collaboration in fast-paced sectors like restaurants and hospitality, where swift and efficient service is crucial," says Adam Fish, Ditto co-founder and CEO. "Traditionally, hotels and restaurants have relied on systems that necessitate local servers to synchronize devices, which can be challenging in case of internet outages or device power loss. Ditto's Intelligent Edge Platform shifts the focus from dependency on local servers and internet connectivity to a more streamlined and flexible solution. By enabling direct device connections, particularly for wireless devices, Ditto eliminates the need for onsite servers. This simplification of deployment, maintenance, and upgrades empowers businesses to offer enhanced digital experiences to customers more rapidly than ever before, all while maintaining seamless communication and data synchronization among devices, regardless of internet connectivity."

The company will use the funding to grow its sales and marketing functions and to accelerate the technology roadmap, expanding to more platforms like IoT, unlocking massive new performance, and bringing the power of its distributed data platform to more industries and use cases.


Bear Robotics to Take On Elevator Deliveries

bear robotics delivery robot in front of elevator

Bear Robotics announced a strategic investment to fund its Korea-based partner, M2MTech, which specializes in IoT convergence for smart remote and predictive systems with elevators.

This investment comes as Bear Robotics now extends their world-renowned Servi robot line with a fully integrated elevator delivery robot, Servi Lift, which is capable of completing last-mile deliveries inside of multi-story buildings such as hotels, senior living communities, ghost kitchens, hospitals, corporate campuses, and other high-rise commercial and residential real estate properties.

More than 10% of restaurants will roll out IoT and or robotics for the first time this year, according to Hospitality Technology’s 25th annual Restaurant Technology Study.

In engineering Servi Lift, Bear Robotics sought interoperability as its absolute competitive advantage to be applied with major players in the smart elevator market such as OTIS, TKE, Mitsubishi, KONE, Hyundai and Schindler. With the expansion of urbanization, Bear Robotics is bullish on the “smart city” shift to robot-friendly buildings, enhanced access security, and the penetration of smart elevators in smart buildings with strong linkages between systems. 

100 trials of Servi Lift are reserved for 2023. Broader rollouts are lined up in 2024.


Square Software Adds Tap-to-Pay on Android

Square contactless tap to pay on android two hands

Square launched Tap to Pay on Android for sellers across the U.S., Australia, Ireland, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The new technology empowers sellers to securely accept contactless payments with a compatible Android device, and at no additional cost.

With Tap to Pay on Android, Square is making it even easier for new sellers and established businesses to conduct in-person commerce. Using a compatible Android device, a seller simply opens the Square Point of Sale, Square Appointments, Square for Restaurants, or Square Invoices app, enters the sale, and presents their smartphone to the customer. From there, the buyer will see the total they owe along with the familiar contactless payments symbol, and can choose to complete the payment with a contactless credit or debit card, or a digital wallet such as Google Pay.

57% of respondents say enabling new payment options is a  top business driver impacting POS upgrade decisions, according to HT’s2 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

Tap to Pay on Android is powered by Square’s intuitive software which gives sellers a flexible, mobile solution that meets consumers’ growing preferences for contactless payments. Square’s software also benefits consumers by offering them a smooth and straightforward checkout experience, enabling them to see all the information needed to help them complete their purchase with confidence.

Square sellers and new merchants can begin using Tap to Pay on Android today by downloading the Square Point of Sale, Square Appointments, Square for Restaurants, or Square Invoices app on compatible Android devices. For more information, please visit


Union Square Hospitality Group Adds Loyalty Program

photo outside Daily Provisions restaurant in NYC showing the Thanx mobile app

Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) is expanding its partnership with loyalty and guest engagement platform Thanx.

Thanx will now deliver sophisticated loyalty and digital experiences for three of USHG’s brands: Daily Provisions, an all-day neighborhood kitchen, Blue Smoke, a barbecue joint, and Marta, a Roman-inspired pizzeria and wood-fired grill.

With the ongoing Thanx partnership, the brands will be able to extend the group’s signature hospitality to more guests across their preferred channels both in-store and digitally. The launch includes a brand-new iOS and Android app complete with a revamped loyalty program and digital ordering experience for Daily Provisions. With the enhanced program, USHG gains insight into purchasing behaviors, enabling more personal communication and stronger relationships with guests.

Additionally, USHG brands benefit from Thanx’s proprietary credit card integrations and CRM-integrated online ordering, which accelerate customer data capture through frictionless digital experiences.

“At USHG, we’re always searching for technology that enhances the hospitality experience,” says Kelly MacPherson, Chief Technology Officer, at Union Square Hospitality Group. MacPherson is a 2023 Top Women in Restaurant Technology Lifetime Achievement winner. “With Thanx, we’re able to find creative ways to reward and build brand loyalty, meet our guests where they are, and create raves.”

Founded by Danny Meyer in 1985, USHG has grown into a multi-brand hospitality powerhouse.


sweetgreen Shares Progress on ESG Goals

sweetgreen sustainability report cover man in field

sweetgreen released its first 2022 Impact Report, detailing the company’s ongoing initiatives to build a sustainable food system and responsible business.

The report highlights sweetgreen’s Fiscal Year 2022 progress towards their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals, including their commitments to becoming carbon neutral by 2027 and broadening workforce representation across all levels by the end of 2025.

Sustainability Matters

Sustainability matters to today's consumers and restaurant operators. Two out of three (66%) consumers surveyed feel it’s important that restaurants are open about their practices to limit food waste. According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions.   Just last week, Chipotle revealed its new sustainable restaurant design.

sweetgreen's Progress

  •  Together with  Watershed, sweetgreen calculated the emissions of their menu items and published the emissions data and methodology on their website.
  • Introducing carbon-friendly items: The Hummus Crunch Salad at 0.3 kg CO2e is their lowest carbon meal to date.
  • Reducing emissions intensity: Since announcing its commitment to becoming carbon neutral in February 2021, sweetgreen has decreased emissions intensity by 12% from their 2019 baseline while maintaining company growth.
  • Investing in clean energy: 100% of operations are powered by clean electricity purchased from solar farms in North Carolina certified by Watershed, reducing their Scope 2 emissions to zero.
  • Mitigating environmental impacts: 79% of waste was composted or recycled based on restaurants where their partner, Rubicon, manages landfill, compost, and recycling streams.