Mobile Commerce

Peter Thiel Backs On-Demand Private Room Service

Breather, a startup which rents out work spaces over limited amounts of time, has raised $20 million in a funding round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Bloomberg reported Thursday (Sept. 17).

In addition to the PayPal founder’s investment vehicle, Breather’s investors in this go-round included Slow Ventures, Real Ventures and SOS Ventures. The latest financing brings the total raised by the company, which is based in Montreal, to $28.5 million.

At present, Breather has about 100 locations across cities that include New York, Boston, Ottawa and San Francisco, in addition to Montreal and Ottawa. The new capital will go toward new business and expansion in London, Toronto and Los Angeles, the company told Bloomberg.

Under the Breather business model, customers who want a “private space” are able to book a location using a mobile application.

“People keep moving to crowded cities even when they’re hard to live in,” Thiel said in a statement alongside the announcement of the investment. “If you can make cities work better as meeting places, you can build a very valuable business.”

Valar is also joining the company’s board.

Separately, TechCrunch reported that the “best use case” for the company’s services comes when travelers need to be alone with Wi-Fi capability in a place that is not as public as, say, a hotel or coffee shop.

In an interview with the company’s chief executive officer and cofounder, Julien Smith, TechCrunch reported that the executive said immediate initiatives would extend to “new cities, marketing, growing existing cities. We really believe there can be a unit like this in every commercial building in America. Completely serious.” And, said the executive, the average room booked through Breather is taken for at least two hours at a stretch but can be blocked off for anywhere from 30 minutes to an entire day, with the CEO telling TechCrunch that “thousands” of bookings come in on a weekly basis.

[bctt tweet=”“Thousands” of bookings come in on a weekly basis, says Breather’s CEO.”]

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