We want to extend our warm and heartfelt congratulations to Francis, Martin, Sanjay, Shruti, Doug, Phil, Andrew, and the whole team at Sonder, not only for being a great Inovia portfolio company but for continuing to lead the next generation in hospitality experiences, and for their successful merger with Gores Metropoulos II, Inc., a special purpose acquisition company (Ticker: GMII). I can’t tell you how proud we are to have been part of the amazing Sonder story, and we look forward to the many new chapters yet to come.
Interestingly enough, I first met co-founder and CEO Francis Davidson in 2014. Like my own experience, he had left McGill University to pursue his entrepreneurial passion. The difference was he was able to quickly start generating revenue by subletting his downtown apartment on vacation rental sites. And as he began expanding his inventory and renting out additional student apartments, he conceived of a new idea that would revolutionize the hospitality industry — combining design-forward, tech-enabled spaces with hotel amenities, thus paving the way for what Sonder is today.
Sonder Scales the Personalized and Instagrammable Era of Hospitality — Blog
Delivering Authenticity, Globally
Although we didn’t invest in his first few rounds of financing, it quickly became clear that Francis was a visionary leader fundamentally changing the hospitality industry at a time when travelers wanted new experiences that were personalized, consistent, hassle-free, and reliable. Sonder was connecting travelers to these kinds of authentic experiences in cities worldwide, and by the time we invested in early 2019, it was on a growth trajectory.
The company was forging a new path for the industry and building a team and operational plan necessary to scale the benefits of tech-enabled hospitality worldwide. And that is easier said than done.
Our enthusiasm has never waned, helping fuel the company’s aggressive global growth. In fact, we were so convinced by what Francis was doing that we decided to double down and lead its Series E round in April 2020, just as COVID was truly global and planes were being left in parking lots. We are believers in the unique experience Sonder is creating and how their offerings resonate with travelers, so we had no doubts that they would continue to thrive and endure beyond the uncertain period of a global crisis.
That financing round helped Sonder weather the temporary travel demand shock that came with the pandemic and enabled the company to gain market share and position itself for post-pandemic growth. With the continued growth and scaling needs, Sonder also established a key corporate decision-making hub in Montreal — a critical advantage to accessing talent as it continues to bring its products and services to more locations around the world.
A Bright Future Ahead
Today, the entire Sonder team continues to distinguish itself for its excellence. The team’s grit, resilience, ambition, and courage have brought it to this point.
And as people start or continue traveling, Sonder continues to be sought out by those who seek inspiring spaces, tech-enabled and contactless stays, consistent quality, and compelling value. With the recent opening of new properties in France, Mexico, across Canada, the United States, and the Middle East, Sonder is a leader in the new world of hospitality.
We are very proud of what Sonder has accomplished, and again, we extend our heartfelt congratulations on their outstanding achievements to date. We look forward to watching their continued success revolutionizing the hospitality industry.
Chris & the Inovia team