RV Glamping Firm Cabana Raises $10 Million – Skift

Row of Camper Vans Motorhomes on the Ridge at Night. Mountain RV Camping in the Italian Dolomites. Starry Summer Sky.

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Cabana, a cell lodge startup (assume: glamping on wheels), mentioned on Tuesday it had raised $10 million, which can look like a small quantity however is additional proof of investor intrigue in new concepts for outside journey.

Craft Ventures and Goldcrest Capital led the Sequence A spherical. Danish enterprise capital agency Nordic Eye additionally participated.

Cabana, primarily based in Seattle, beforehand raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Its traders embrace Jason Calacanis, who’s each a serial entrepreneur who created Silicon Alley Reporter and Weblogs Inc., and a serial early-stage investor in firms equivalent to Uber, and Paul English, the co-founder of the journey search engine Kayak and the enterprise journey startup Lola.

“We’ll use the funds to construct our expertise platform, proceed enhancing our car design, and develop to a four-passenger van from the present mannequin,” mentioned Cabana co-founder and CEO Scott Kubly.

Cabana designs campervans that it rents. It designs the automobiles to keep away from issues that inexperienced RV renters hate — striving to mix hotel-like facilities with the comfort of automobile sharing. The corporate makes use of software program to clean out planning and logistical issues for vacationers, too.

A Increase of Curiosity in RVs and Campervans

The startup is driving a wave of curiosity within the outside journey sector, particularly in RV leases. Social media has popularized the pattern with the hashtag #vanlife, and the pandemic gave a lift to the pattern as folks spent extra time open air and away from crowds domestically.

The thrill has helped Cabana, which is an assertive consumer of Instagram advertising. About 95 % of its bookings come on to its web site and cell app, Kubly mentioned. The corporate places its branding on its automobiles, which helps with word-of-mouth, too.

But regardless of the booming curiosity in RVs, some skeptics have questioned if the premium phase of the camper van rental trip market has room to scale.

Kubly, a former prime govt on the electrical scooter-sharing service Lime, believes that the higher analogy for Cabana is Uber — which widened the market of complete income first created by conventional taxis by making it a lot simpler to hail a trip.

Just one out of 200 Individuals have rented an RV, based on one estimate. So a less complicated system might faucet demand from individuals who have been too intimidated to attempt camper vans till now, based on Kubly. For the reason that firm’s founding in 2019, about 70 % of Cabana’s clients have been first-time camper van renters or customers, and one other 27 % have used an RV a few times.

“We’re placing a snug mattress wherever you need it, which may very well be at a trailhead, or a pop-up music competition, or a company team-building occasion,” Kubly mentioned. “If accommodations don’t have any vacancies left throughout a serious occasion like a Massive Ten basketball sport or the Tremendous Bowl, you would park close by in an RV. We will add lodging provide to any location flexibly and dynamically. That makes us a a lot greater alternative.”

Development Spurt

cabana campervan RV rental source cabana

#vanlife. Supply: Cabana.

Cabana has served just a few U.S. markets, controlling the {hardware}, customer support, gross sales, and advertising.

The corporate has tackled frequent ache factors. For instance, it made the kitchen in its customized vans modular, which lets its crew swap out kitchen models for cleansing in-between leases. The corporate additionally designed its vans with house for bags, and it splurged on the toilet, which is usually a turn-off for brand new renters utilizing conventional automobiles.

The corporate has additionally tried to simplify journey planning. Renters fill out a five-minute questionnaire on-line, and the corporate proposes an itinerary to observe.

Up to now yr, the corporate has reportedly operated 25 automobiles with a mean 75 % occupancy and roughly 28 % web margins.

Over time, Kubly and his co-founder Jonathan Savage need to transfer the enterprise to one thing nearer to a franchise mannequin, the place it finds native owner-operators to assist it scale.

Out of doors Journey’s Massive Second

Cabana faces some modest competitors from gamers with overlapping companies.

Maybe the biggest one is AutoCamp, a startup that raised $115 million in 2019, and that has been providing upscale trailer resorts in a handful of U.S. places, equivalent to in California’s Russian River Valley and Yosemite Nationwide Park.

AutoCamp company keep in Airstreams or luxurious tents, and the startup handles the small print, equivalent to supplying mattress sheets with excessive thread counts. The resort space’s public loos sometimes are extra hotel-like than camp-like, for example.

Buyers have additionally poured cash into different outside journey and recreation firms. Earlier this yr, Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer market for renting RVs, closed an unpublicized follow-on spherical after elevating $50 million in 2019.

In March, Harvest Hosts, a membership program for leisure car, or RV, house owners in North America, raised $37 million from personal fairness investor Stripes. Final yr, RVshare, a rental market for leisure automobiles, raised greater than $100 million in a spherical led by KKR.

Kubly unsurprisingly mentioned these marketplaces aren’t true rivals.

“Renting an RV or campervan is a fringe exercise for many individuals as a result of it’s so sophisticated,” Kubly mentioned. “Should you take a look at a few of the peer-to-peer marketplaces, you see variability within the high quality of the provision, which may be irritating to shoppers.”

Kubly unsurprisingly argued that there are hurdles to different entrepreneurs coming in and instantly competing. He mentioned the totality of the elements Cabana is constructing, equivalent to car design, fleet financing, and operational effectivity, all require sturdy execution that creates a moat buffering the corporate from new entrants.

One doable headwind, although, is a backlash to the “gentrification” of the RV and campervan phase by middle-class and upper-middle-class folks. The pattern has triggered some clashes with long-time RV customers who’ve rented or owned RVs for trip for years. The die-hards typically roll their eyes on the newbies.

However Kubly mentioned the 2 segments are completely different and may be marketed to and served in a different way.

“We’re not a camper firm,” Kubly mentioned. “We’re a journey expertise firm.”

Photograph Credit score: One in all Cabana’s leisure automobiles. The journey startup primarily based in Seattle has raised $10 million in funding for hotel-style leisure car, or RV, leases. Cabana

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