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Contxto – The sky is the limit for Panamanian hospitality startup Selina following its US$100 million Series C investment round. Now, the company plans to launch four new hotel properties in the United Kingdom.
Sources say that this is Selina’s first move as part of its global expansion plan, made possible by recent investments. Funds such as Access Industries, Groupo Weise, and Colony Latam Partners, invested US$100 million into Selina to expedite international growth. Soon enough, it will start operating in Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham.
“We’ve been looking for the right opportunity to bring the Selina way of life to the U.K. and enter the bustling market with an established footprint,” said Rafael Museri, CEO and co-founder. “Especially in the emerging entrepreneurial hubs of Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham.”
By the end of 2023, investors anticipate Selina to have a key count of 130,000 in over 400 locations. The UK expansion should be complete before the year’s end with four rebranded hotel establishments. Part of Selina’s model also involves partnering with local and emerging artists to create interactive atmospheres.
Another part of the funding round will go towards Selina launching in Germany, Greece, Portugal, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. The startup intends to add 31 properties in these areas in 2019 to fortify its market.
Some may consider Selina to be the “Digital Nomad Hotel of the Future.” What began as simple lodging in the sleepy Panamanian village of Pedasí has evolved into a multinational company present in over a dozen countries with more than 40 properties. Today, it combines hostel, hotel and coworking spaces into one holistic package.
At its core, Selina provides “local experiences” to travelers with nomadic tendencies. Besides ensuring a place to stay or work, the company also offers plenty of wellness and recreational activities, such as surfing or yoga. To say the least, the world definitely becomes your playground with this service.
Rafi Museri and Daniel Rudasevski founded the company in 2015. According to Museri, Selina has the mentality of a 29-year-old world traveler from Latin America, described as “honest, humble, beautiful. She hosts you, she hugs you. You want to be with her.” The founders also say that the startup began to foster community through hospitality.
Not only is Selina a trendy travel service but a “lifestyle” brand. According to the company’s website, everyone from digital nomads, vacationing families, adventurous backpackers to surfers use the platform. Besides staying and eating at quaint retreats, Selina also provides co-working spaces, surfing classes, and plenty of exploration to stimulate deeper connections with the world.
Most of Selina’s listings are tropical beachside towns in Panama and Costa Rica. However, there are urban partners in places like Medellin, Colombia and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Moreover, the company transforms neglected places, whether they be chocolate factories, schools, or asylums. After acquiring these often large spaces, Selina then revitalizes them to benefit the whole community.
Although Selina began in Panama, it is now headquartered in London. It is currently valued at around US$850 million.