- Saudi Arabia-based Gathern, a peer-to-peer (P2P) vacation rental marketplace has raised a $6 million Series A round led by STV with participation from existing investors Vision Ventures, 500 Startups, angel investor Naef Sultan AlAthel and ARG Limited. This is STV’s first investment in a travel startup.
- Founded in 2017 by Latifa Altamimi, Gathern offers users rental properties including villas, apartments and yachts, among other options, directly from the owner. It is the first company in Saudi Arabia to be licensed by the Ministry of Tourism for P2P rentals, which means property owners do not need to get an individual licence to rent out their properties.
- The investment, which the startup claims is the largest amount invested in a female-led Saudi startup, will be used to develop its product and expand its geographical footprint within the country.
- By 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to welcome 100 million international and domestic visitors.
Gathern, Saudi Arabia’s leading and fastest-growing peer-to-peer (P2P) rental marketplace, announced today it has closed a $6 million (SAR 22 million) Series A funding round, led by STV and joined by existing investors Vision Ventures, 500 Startups, business person Mr. Naef Sultan AlAthel and ARG Limited. The company will invest in developing its product and further deepening its geographical footprint within Saudi Arabia, where it is currently already active in 100+ cities, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Abha, Al-Baha, Taif, Al-Ula, and Umluj, among others.
Through Gathern, anybody can rent a villa, apartment, farm, caravan, room, chalet, camp, or yacht, among other options, directly from an individual owner – on daily basis. While property owners usually require an individual rental license to rent out their property, Gathern allows them to list their properties for rent through their website and application without having to obtain this license – removing a significant hurdle in the P2P rental market. Gathern is the first company in Saudi Arabia that has obtained this license from the Ministry of Tourism.
Domestic and international tourism has been a core focus of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. By 2030, the country aims to welcome 100 million international and domestic visitors, roughly three times the current population of the country. This would make Saudi Arabia one of the top 5 tourist destinations globally. Qiddiya, a $2.6 billion project just outside of Riyadh, will complete by 2023 and is expected to attract 17 million entertainment visitors, 12 million shopping visitors, and 2 million hospitality visitors by 2030 alone.
Moreover, with the tourist visa being introduced in Saudi Arabia, the international tourism industry in Saudi Arabia is expected to bloom as well. While Hajj and Umrah already account for nearly 10 million international visitors to the Kingdom yearly, the number of international visitors is only expected to increase.
Ahmad Alshammari, Partner at STV, highlights, “We are incredibly excited to partner with Gathern – it is our first investment in the travel space, and the largest ever investment in a female-led Saudi startup. We believe that Latifa and the Gathern team have the right engine to tackle this fast-growing market with a fresh approach. They have proven themselves to be incredibly nimble and resilient during COVID-19, where they grew significantly despite the global challenges. We are excited to see what the future holds.”
Latifa Altamimi, Co-founder and CEO at Gathern, concludes, “We are happy to have STV, as well as existing investors Vision Ventures and 500 Startups, on board in our journey as we continue to grow our proposition across the country. Saudi Arabia has a renewed vision for its tourism sector, with both domestic and international tourism seeing significant support. With Gathern, we look to offer a different experience from the traditional travel experience, by providing unique tourist residences from actual residents. This allows anyone to explore the real culture and cities in Saudi Arabia. If you become a host on our platform, you simply list your villa, apartment, farm, caravan, room, chalet, camp, or yacht, which allows you to earn significant additional income. Therefore, I invite everyone who has such a residence, and wants to welcome visitors from across the country and world while earning some additional income, to register on the platform and start hosting visitors.”
Gathern today has the capacity to host over 1.2 million guests per month. Its capacity is growing month over month. While the income of top hosts on the platform exceeded SAR60,000 per month. Gathern offers both a web site and an application to its customers.