WITH THE BACKDROP of Ireland’s deepening rental crisis, Spanish home rental startup Spotahome is doubling down on Dublin by opening an office in the city.
The company provides an online booking platform for tenants to find rooms and properties that have been checked by freelance ‘homecheckers’ who vet the rooms.
On the landlord and property manager side, it provides tools for managing property listings. There are currently more than 1,300 properties listed on the site in Dublin.
Founded in 2014, it has raised over $60 million to date from VCs including Kleiner Perkins and Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick.
Spotahome’s general manager for the UK and Ireland, James Kirimy, told Fora that while the service has been available in Ireland since 2016, the market has until this point been managed from the London and Madrid offices.
“We really want to get much closer to the market and serve customers on the landlord side and the customer side. We want to be closer to them,” he said.
“It becomes an extension of the London team. We’ve created a hub for Spotahome in London and Dublin is quite hard to cover from London. People are travelling every week so having people in Dublin makes sense.”
An initial team of three will start in the Dublin office over the coming weeks, handling roles like sales and account management.
“They’re focusing on acquiring talent and expertise in the real estate space in Dublin. We’ve been there for a long time and we have a strong relationship with the key players in the industry.”
Spotahome is placing greater attention on Dublin in an environment where renters are struggling with a housing shortage in the city.
Sites like Airbnb have been in the firing line and are now subject to new regulations that came into effect earlier this month.
Spotahome allows mid-term lets but Kirimy said that the company is not caught in the crosshairs of these new rules.
“We’re not directly impacted … the minimum stay on the platform is one month. The regulation that was just implemented is anything up to 14 days,” he said.
Spotahome itself has come under criticism in Ireland before for a sub-standard listing that was eventually removed after online backlash.
Kirimy added that Spotahome, which has operations in 10 other European cities, is focused on extending its reach in those countries.
“Where we see great opportunity is to expand in the countries where we currently operate,” he said.
“There’s a lot of demand from landlords and property managers who are operating in more than one city in those countries.”