The co-branding collaboration is the first of its kind that Airbnb, one of the world's most highly valued startups, has entered into in India, a market where it has about 18,000 listings.
"We are creating solutions specifically for the Indian rental community. For Aibnb, we are creating a separate set of packages, more attuned towards travellers, which will allow the hosts to pick and choose from these packages and furnish their house," Ajith Mohan Karimpana, chief executive of Furlenco, told ET.
Hosts signing up for the furniture package deal also have the option of discontinuing if they choose to opt out of undertaking short-term rentals.
The packages, which range between Rs 5,000-7,500 a month, have been created to furnish an entire house or a single room. Currently, apart from sharing marketing cost, there is no commercial aspect to the agreement between the two companies.
India is an increasingly important market for the San Francisco-headquartered Airbnb, which was recently reported to have authorised the sale of an additional $153 million in equity, bringing the size of its current fundraising effort to about $1 billion.
Airbnb, which entered Asia's third-largest economy earlier this year, is competing with domestic rivals including online travel majors MakeMyTrip and Yatra, which have either launched or are about to roll out their own home-stay offerings.
"Our recent partnership with Furlenco provides easy access to plush and contemporary furniture to our hosts and encourages them to make their homes more comfortable for their guests," said Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager - India, Airbnb. “We are certain that great deals from Furlenco, especially curated for Airbnb hosts, would further enhance the ease of hosting for our hosts in India.”
This is also the first major partnership announced by Furlenco since it closed a Rs 200-crore debt and equity funding round which was first reported by ET in October.
The Series B round of funding saw the Bengaluru-based company raise debt of about Rs 100 crore from HDFC Bank, the country’s largest private sector lender, and Axis Bank, as well as from non-banking financial company IntelleGrow and a number of undisclosed family offices and high net-worth individuals.
An additional Rs 100 crore as equity financing was pumped in by Furlenco’s existing investor, Lightbox, and a new investor, Hong Kong-based multi-stage venture capital firm Axis Capital Partners.
The company, which was founded Goldman Sachs alumni Karimapana, had also earlier tied up with Tiger Global-backed Nestaway.
"At this scale, this (the partnership with Airbnb) is probably the largest one that we have done," Karimpana said.
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“We are creating solutions specifically for the Indian rental community. For Aibnb, we are creating a separate set of packages, more attuned towards travellers, which will allow the hosts to pick and choose from these packages and furnish their house,” Ajith Karimpana
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It is a combination of 50% equity and 50% debt, making them one of the largest debt funded start-ups in India. While Furlenco plans to utilise the equity component to grow its business into more cities, the debt will be used to purchase inventory.
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