Viewing entries tagged

The Plum Guide raises £14m to expand its collection of the world’s best vacation rentals and immediately announces six new cities to launch this April

  • Talis Capital leads investors in Series B round, with participation from Latitude, Hearst Ventures and existing investors Octopus Ventures.

  • Funding will enable roll out to 6 new cities this April – Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Madrid, and Tel Aviv

  • Six additional US cities are scheduled to launch in summer 2019.

  • Exclusive booking platform has achieved three times year-on-year growth for three years running.

  • New cities will be added to London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Paris and Rome.

London, 21 March 2019 - The Plum Guide has raised £14m from some of Europe’s leading early-stage investors to support its ambitious rollout to 12 new cities this year. Known as the “Michelin Guide for Homes”, The Plum Guide differs from mass market booking platforms by selecting only the top 1% of properties in any city to feature on its site. By the end of 2019 it expects to offer almost 12,000 verified homes in the most sought-after cities for holiday rentals, with 100 new hires being made to support its growth ambitions.

The latest funding round is led by Talis Capital, with participation from Latitude and Hearst Ventures, as well as Octopus Ventures – who led the Series A funding round.

The Plum Guide uses hospitality industry experts to vet every property in person and applies a scientific Plum Guide test - which covers 150 points from proximity to cafes and transport, to speed of WiFi - when selecting which homes to feature. Since launching in London in 2015, The Plum Guide has achieved year-on-year growth of three times revenues, for three years’ running. In 2018, it added homes in five new cities to the platform and saw repeat bookings jump 27% after it opened in Paris, its second location after London. The key to its success has been customer referrals, which drive a quarter of all bookings.

“We are on a mission to build a marketplace of the world’s most beautiful holiday homes. This isn’t some vague qualitative ambition. We mean it. We are taking a systematic and obsessive approach to vetting every single home on the planet and accepting only the top 1%,” Doron Meyassed, Founder and CEO of The Plum Guide, said.

The Plum Guide was founded to solve the problem of inconsistent quality, encountered by anyone booking a vacation rental online. Most open marketplaces rely on peer-to-peer review systems to judge quality, but standards vary hugely in reality. The Plum Guide instead uses a rigorous testing approach that aims to guarantee consistent quality every time.

It uses a proprietary algorithm to find the highest rated and best located homes in a city. Expert hospitality critics from The Plum Guide then visit each home to interview the host and meticulously test the property. Ultimately, only 1 out of every 100 properties in each city is invited to join the collection.

The approach has resonated with a lucrative customer segment of mature affluent individuals, who make up the majority of Plum’s 1.3 million global user base. “Most rental platforms are trying to get as many people as possible to use their site. We are clearly targeting a highly discerning group of affluent professionals that live in global megacities, love to travel and value great design, quality and locations,” says Meyassed. “Previously they have stayed away from the open marketplace booking platforms, which they consider too risky compared with the reassurance that a hotel provides.”

The Plum Guide has innovated relentlessly on meeting the needs of this customer, through a unique mix of expert property curation, impartial and trustworthy vetting processes and outstanding customer service through its team of MatchMakers. It has achieved customer satisfaction scores that outperform industry peers in a sector notorious for over-promising but under-delivering.

Matus Maar, Managing Partner and Co Founder at Talis Capital, said: "The consumer market has entered into an age of curation where data, ratings and reviews need to be carved into useful information to support buying decisions. We see huge value in businesses and teams that create a competitive advantage by being strategically data driven. The Plum Guide has something very special and customers are already showing amazing loyalty for its hand-picked and meticulously-vetted holiday rentals. In Doron, we have also found a determined, highly ambitious and creative entrepreneur with a track record of building a successful business that competes at the very highest levels.”

Megumi Ikeda, managing director Hearst Ventures, said: “The Plum Guide appeals strongly to the affluent, discriminating traveller as we have seen in its impressive growth in the last three years. Endorsement from professional critics and experts has always been worth having and holiday accommodation is no exception to this rule. As The Plum Guide adds more cities, it will become even more useful to the customer base who are already convinced by its rigorous approach to vetting properties.”

George Henry, partner at LocalGlobe, said: ““Travel and accommodation continues to be a fast-growing market but the supply has become incredibly fragmented, especially in the p2p market. As consumer travel has always suffered from a very low NPS, we believe that a differentiated brand offering a more hands-on service powered by expert curation and data is going to continue to deliver a very unique experience. We are excited to be able to follow on our seed investment in The Plum Guide, which has a keen understanding and eye for detail of what is possible as it rolls out its highly-selective, highly targeted product across new cities and countries.”

Zihao Xu, Early Stage Investor at Octopus Ventures, commented: "The more cities The Plum Guide is in the better it will be for all its customers. We're excited to continue supporting Doron and the team in taking the company truly global, and building out their vision of what an iconic hospitality brand in the 21st century should be."

- ENDS -


About The Plum Guide: The Plum Guide is a curated collection of the best holiday rentals available in leading international cities. Listing in London, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan, Rome and New York. The Plum Guide rigorously tests and handpicks only the cream of the crop of rental properties so that customers need never worry about their travel accommodation. For beautiful holiday homes, see:

About Talis Capital: Talis Capital is a venture capital investment firm that takes smart money from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and business people and invests it strategically in early stage technology companies with global potential. Talis has invested over $500m worth of transactions since 2009 and the portfolio includes Darktrace, Onfido, iwoca, Pirate Studios, Luminance, Ynsect and Oh My Green. Focused on building long-term partnerships, Talis leverages its network to give some of the world’s most innovative startups opportunity to thrive. For more see

About Hearst Ventures: Hearst Ventures is a global investment group that makes strategic investments in fast-growing companies in the media and technology sectors. Since its initial investment in Netscape in 1995, the group has grown to become one of the most active and successful corporate venture funds, with more than $1 billion in strategic investments in companies including BuzzFeed, E Ink, Hootsuite, Pandora, Roku, Via and XM Satellite Radio. Visit

About LocalGlobe: LocalGlobe is a UK-based venture capital firm that focuses on seed investments. Seeding ambitious UK founders since 1999 including Transferwise, Zoopla, Improbable, Citymapper, Algolia and Robinhood. Visit

About Octopus Ventures: Octopus Ventures, part of Octopus Group, is a leading European venture capital firm that helps pioneering entrepreneurs change the world by taking ideas from inception to international scale-up. Where there is change there is huge entrepreneurial opportunity, particularly in three key areas; industry, money and health. We’ve refined our focus towards these specialisms to discover the next generation of innovators. Octopus Ventures is headquartered in London and New York, with Venture Partners in San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore who offer exclusive insight and advice to our portfolio companies looking to expand into new markets. Octopus Ventures has supported over 70 outstanding entrepreneurs that are leading the way in disrupting their industries. Companies backed in recent years include allplants, Elvie, Depop, Big Health,, Eve, Magic Pony, Secret Escapes, Sofar Sounds, Swiftkey, Swoon Editions, and Zoopla Property Group. Octopus is a group of companies that are experts in start-ups, renewable energy and healthcare infrastructure. Octopus Group currently manage more than £8.5 billion on behalf of our customers. Octopus Energy, Octopus Healthcare, Octopus Investments, Octopus Labs, Octopus Property and Octopus Ventures are all part of Octopus Group. Visit

Pirate Studios raises $20m from Talis Capital to bring its revolutionary self-service music studios to new markets

Pirate Studios raises $20m from Talis Capital to bring its revolutionary self-service music studios to new markets

  • Investment will fund new locations across UK, US and Germany

  • Fundraising is supported by high-profile investors including Eric Archambeau, Bart Swanson, Gaw Capital

  • Pirate supports musicians with live music opportunities, Pirates Prodigy talent competition and festival stage curation

London, 15 November 2018

Pirate Studios, the fast-growing music technology company, that operates fully automated self-service 24 hour music studios, has secured a strategic investment of $20m from Talis Capital, the London-based VC family office.

The new funding will enable Pirate Studios to continue its rapid expansion across the UK, Germany and the US, where it has been building a community of musicians, DJs, producers and podcasters who need access to professional studios at rates they can afford. The pioneering company, which was created by musicians for musicians everywhere, has also raised money from a syndicate of high-profile investors including Eric Archambeau (Spotify investor and ex partner at Benchmark & Wellington Partners), Bart Swanson of Horizons Ventures, and partners of Gaw Capital, the $20bn Hong Kong-headquartered creative proptech fund.

The key to Pirate Studios success is the deployment of technology to revolutionise its studios. Pirate has built a platform that offers online booking, 24 hour keycode access, automated recording and live streaming as well as complete IoT control of their studios. In doing this Pirate has been able to increase hours of opening and decrease costs for musicians, offering its studios from as little as £4 per hour.

The company began in an abandoned police station in Bristol, UK, where co-founders David Borrie and Mikey Hammerton worked together with friend Fred Wyatt to build a rehearsal studio which they offered on a time-share basis to bands. As the success of this studio grew, David and Mikey saw the opportunity to develop the concept to hourly rental, self-service music studios and began working on a solution together with Matus Maar from Talis Capital who joined as fellow co-founder. Matus introduced the founders to venture capital investor Talis Capital, which has funded the expansion since inception. In three years Pirate has grown to 350 studios in 21 locations - including London, New York and Berlin.

David Borrie, co-founder and CEO of Pirate Studios, said: “When we founded Pirate Studios our dream was to create innovative spaces to support emerging talent. We want to see music thrive and help musicians get their music out to their fans, through whatever route they think is most appropriate. We are building both the physical space to create, as well as the technology to record and share, that puts power back into the hands of musicians in a period when the digitisation of music continues to radically upset the old order of this industry.”

“We are so excited about the next stage of our expansion, which has been made possible by Talis Capital’s big commitment to this project, with the potential to put musicians back at the heart of the music industry. It’s also exciting to see so many new investors come on board with Talis and to help us with the next stage of our journey.”

Matus Maar, managing partner ventures, Talis Capital and executive chairman of Pirate Studios, said: “The music industry has changed fundamentally. Distribution was previously controlled by the major record labels, preventing the majority of artists from sharing their content. Pirate Studios has unpicked that hegemony and is putting the power back in artists’ hands, unlocking a significant and largely untapped market opportunity. We greatly look forward to continuing to partner with David and the team to make this vision a reality.”

Inspired by fast-growing companies like Zipcar and Pure Gym, Pirate Studios is bringing an entirely new service to musicians including:

  • Fully automated studios that can be booked online 24 hours a day

  • HD live streaming, audio reactive lighting and on-demand video and sound recording

  • Artificial intelligence powered mixing and mastering, to balance audio recorded in their studios

  • Online content hosting for bands to store their videoed and recorded musical archive

The company is also dedicated to helping live music thrive, with a community of more than 40,000 musicians who regularly use its facilities. It supports these artists by:

  • Running national talent development programmes (Pirate Prodigy) offering chosen artists major industry support and free studio time.

  • Weekly livestreams showcasing artists from their community across their social channels

  • Gigs, tours and festival stages to provide opportunities for their community to play live

Pirate launched its first ever Pirate Prodigy competition in 2018, which attracted more than 2000 entries from young bands and singers. The winners were chosen by 20 industry experts and a public vote which attracted 50,000 votes, making it the largest UK music competition after The X Factor and The Voice. The winners - The Seamonsters, Alex Ohm, Red Rum Club and Yves - were showcased in gigs across London, Liverpool and Bristol this summer, before taking to the Pirate stages at Isle of Wight, Y Not and Truck festivals.

Following the fundraise, Eric Archambeau will join David Borrie, Matus Maar and Bart Swanson on the board of Pirate Studios.

Talis Capital has backed Pirate Studios since the concept was founded and will support the next phase of growth, during which the company will continue to expand in the UK, Germany and the US. The investment will also fund the development of a content creation platform, which gives musicians access to all their recordings and content.

· Ends –

Media Contacts


About Pirate Studios Pirate Studios operates the largest network of music studios in the world, serving over 50,000 musicians globally. The studios are fully automated and available 24 hours a day for self-service music rehearsal and recording. Pirate uses internet of things-enabled equipment, including online booking, automated live streaming and artificial intelligence in sound engineering. The fast-growing company is building a community of musicians which it supports with gigs, talent competitions, festival stage curation and online promotion.


About Talis Talis Capital is a London-based venture capital firm that focuses on backing emerging technologies and early stage companies. Talis has completed over $500m worth of transactions since 2009. The VC counts some of the fastest growing tech companies in its portfolio including Darktrace, Onfido, iwoca, Luminance, OhMyGreen, Pirate Studios and Threads among many others.  

For more information, visit

Notes to Editors:

The first Pirate Prodigy Programme to find emerging British music talent was held in April 2018 with support from music industry managers, publishers, agents and PRs team including David Bianchi and John Dawkins (Various Artists Management), Mike Bennett (UTA), Mikey Jonns (This Feeling), Mike Walsh (Radio X), Lyndsey Boggis (Great Escape) and Simon Pursehouse (Sentric).

Studios can be found in: Berlin, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, NYC, Nottingham, Plymouth, Reading, Sheffield.

Artists who have used Pirate Studios include:



Carl Barat and the Jackals, Kate Nash, Reverend & The Makers, Idles, Dreamwife, Rick Astley, The Correspondents, Keir, False Heads, Bang Bang Romeo, Kavin Sandhu (Happy Mondays)



Toddla T, Eats Everything, Shadow Child, Henry Wu, GotSome, Artwork, Oneman, Plastician, Jamz Supernova, Jus Now, Roska, T Williams, Scratcha DVA



Jaykae, Casisdead, Kojey Radical, Scrufizzer, Nadia Rose



Swindle, Despa, Star One, Interface, Forest Swords, Star One, Rapture 4D


Interiors marketplace eporta raises $8M Series A Round

In this day and age of higher expectation in offices, sourcing your furniture from Ikea  no longer cuts the proverbial mustard. But the furniture industry is notoriously old fashioned, forcing buyers to leaf through hundreds of paper catalogues, most of which are outdated by the time you get around to ordering. The global design and furniture industry is worth $700 billion, and yet most of its processes for customers are stuck in a previous age. Wouldn’t it be better if someone digitised those manufacturer catalogues, and allowed you to order direct, cutting out the middle-men?

This is what eporta is. This London-based B2B interior marketplace startup, has now raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by US investor Canvas Ventures. It also includes venture capitalists LocalGlobe, Oxford Capital Partners, Talis Capital, Samos Ventures, as well as angel investors Guy Hands, Ed Wray (co-founder, Betfair), Rohan Blacker (founder,, Simon Kain (co-founder of Zoopla) and Will Cooper (founder,

Founded in 2015, eporta allows interior designers, architects, property developers, offices and other businesses to find and purchase furniture pieces directly from manufacturers around the world online. The Hilton Hotel Group, Accenture,  Ted Baker, and Charlotte Tilbury are included amongst its clients.

Eporta lists over 1,000 sellers in 55 countries and over 10,000 buyers in 85 countries. The idea is that companies that purchase items on eporta can expect to save up to 50% off retail pricing. eporta’s revenue model enables suppliers to pay a low commission to utilise the platform. The service is free for buyers to sign up to, with best pricing guaranteed.

The startup was founded by Manchester-born and Oxford University-educated Aneeqa Khan who previously led strategy at property marketplace Zoopla  and oversaw its £919 million IPO in June 2014. Her technical cofounder is Simon Shillaker, a friend from university.

Khan said: “Our manufacturer base is now the largest global database of manufacturers online for trade.” And she says small interior designers can use the service, as well as larger businesses. “If you are someone who has a project — it could be a commercial project or a residential project — if you’re using eporta you’re going to find the best pieces and you’re going to have more selection than you would do anywhere else in the world.”

Recent projects include a large office fit-out for Accenture (where they worked with Studio Jenny Jones interior design practise), the start-up make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury who worked with them to fit out their new space, and Ted Baker’s property development arm on a range of projects.



Pass the Keys active in 8 cities

Pass the Keys, a fast-growing property tech start-up, completed their second round of funding led by London-based VC, Talis Capital. The funding will support further platform improvements and expand the service offering to more cities in the UK and internationally. The company closed its seed round back in October 2016, also led by Talis Capital.

Founders, Alexander Lyakhotskiy and Zoe Vu, developed Pass the Keys in London Business School’s incubator program and focused on leveraging technology to provide a unique service to Airbnb hosts and help them with hassle-free rentals. Pass the Keys currently operates in eight cities across the UK – London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton, Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, and Oxford – expanding at a pace of one new city a month and is the fastest growing Airbnb Management Company in the world and now covers more UK cities than any other provider.

CEO Alexander Lyakhotskiy commented: “Property is one of the biggest assets for any family and, through our technology solution, we give property owners the ability to maximise their investments hassle-free. Our key differentiators are our revenue management system, but also our focus on security via rigorous guest vetting and photo checks.”

Vasile Foca, co-founder and Managing Partner of Talis Capital, said: “It has been great to see Pass the Keys capitalise on what continues to be a growing sector in property tech. The company has already become the largest Airbnb property manager in the UK as it offers its services in 8 cities. The focus on strategy and automation of various processes, particularly the onboarding of clients, cleaners, and vendors, have allowed the Pass the Keys to become a leading multi-city, multi-platform property manager in the UK. We very much look forward to working with them in their growth to attain this traction internationally.”

Alexander Lyakhotskiy added: “ We are very confident about the future of the sharing economy in the UK and worldwide, and we are grateful for the continued support from Talis Capital. This new funding will allow us to improve our service further, as well as continue our ambitious growth plans. By the end of 2017, we aim to offer our service in all major cities in the UK and start our global expansion from 2018.”