Keypr is one of the companies bringing hotels into the modern age of cloud services, keyless entry, and mobile apps. And the Los Angeles-based startup is announcing today that it has raised $19 million in a first round of funding.
Karlani Capital led the round, with strategic investors including former Starwood executive Simon Turner and former CEO of Bally Technologies, Richard Haddrill.
Keypr was founded by Nizar Allibhoy, Mark Anderson, and Sabir Jaffer to drive increased efficiency in the hospitality industry by using the latest technologies to enhance the guest experience through mobile services and to unite back-end operations.
The company will use the money to expand its platform, scale its operations, and expand sales and marketing, said Allibhoy, in an interview with VentureBeat. He also said that he had hired former Oculus executive Robert Stevenson as chief operating officer and brought aboard former Belkin executive Nandan Kalle as vice president of product management.
Stevenson, formerly of Facebook and Gaikai, said in an interview that he was an early investor in Keypr and that he believes timing is right for the company to scale its operations.
Keypr makes a Guest Experience Management System and Keypr Intelligent Lock Technology that enable guests to check in via mobile app and bypass a hotel’s front desk as they go straight to their room. The company is working on adding conversation user interfaces (such as Amazon’s Alexa) to hotel operations so guests can order room service or other things more easily.
Keypr is currently deployed across a portfolio of hotels, casinos, and luxury residential properties. The company has brand deals with Denihan Hospitality, Proper Hospitality, LE Hotels, and Greystone Hotels, among others. This month, the Keypr platform begins deployments in casinos, starting with Odawa Casino Resort and Lac Vieux Desert, with more properties to follow in 2017.
In hotels equipped with Keypr, guests can securely check into a room, open the door without a key, and order whatever they want. The idea is to enable people to continue their mobile lifestyle and bring their existing technology experiences with them as they check into a hotel.
“We have shifted the view in the hospitality industry, where they first wondered if they need this, to being widely recognized as a must-have for good service,” Allibhoy said. “People use this technology at home and they expect the hotel experience to be comparable.”
He said that Keypr differs from other platforms because it accommodates a wide variety of technologies, not just one or two new platforms. It can also analyze patterns and figure out if the hotel needs to stock more products that are used on Saturdays, for example.
“Our customer is the hotel,” he said. “We focus on personalization and context. We eliminate transactional friction and make the experience more seamless. We free the hotel staff up for more personal service.”