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Selina

A place to stay, work, surf and explore

Sector: Futuretravel
Themes:

Selina runs a network of 46 properties in a dozen Latin American countries and Portugal. It offers private and shared accommodation with coworking facilities, cafes, wellness, and local experiences. An upcoming 126-bed property in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, for example, will feature a hotel that includes some hostel-like lodging, coworking spaces, eateries, shops, a year-round rooftop, and an art gallery.

Whether you’re a digital nomad, family on vacation, adventurous backpacker, or surfer looking for paradise, you’ve come to the right place. Participate in the complete ecosystem of Selina: stay, eat, work, surf, explore, and find a deeper connection with the world.

Selina is not just accommodation. Yes, it offers (gorgeous, beautifully-designed) places to stay. More than that, it offers a place to connect with others. Be inspired by stunning beaches and lush jungles. Fuel your creativity in energetic urban centers. Catch a wave, dance until dawn, or tap into a new level of productivity with surfing, activities, co-working, and community by Selina. If you’re looking for a unique, immersive, purpose-filled experience, you’re looking for Selina.

In 2007 Rafael Museri and Daniel Rudasevski were living in Pedasí, a small fishing town in Panama. They ran real estate projects and while developing the town, they began to build a tight-knit social circle with locals and travelers.

The two friends had a project in mind. After traveling the world and staying in many places, they believed they could begin to change the world of hospitality and share this community with other travelers. This is how the first Selina was born in Venao, a surf town near Pedasí in 2014.

Once the model was proven to be a success in Venao, the expansion began. Selina is growing quickly in Central America, South America, North America and Europe.

Every Selina aims to be a contributing member of the communities in which we operate. Selina Gives Back is our holistic volunteering program for staff, guests and “Amigos de Selina” (friends from the neighborhood) who want to volunteer with us. Selina commits 2% of labor time so our staff can volunteer in Selina Gives Back activities. Whether it’s promoting arts and culture, or taking care of the environment, SGB offers the chance to give back.

The SGB activities we promote at locations are all free and include:

​Sharing your Talent:

  • Assisting future “Chef Kids”
  • English instruction for locals
  • Painting, building, and improving local infrastructure
  • Teaching arts & crafts
  • Inclusive surf classes
  • Yoga lessons for locals

​Protecting the Environment:

  • Reforestation
  • Beach Cleanup
  • Town Cleanup
  • Environmental Education

​Open SGB activities:

  • To support local initiatives that contribute to building the identity and culture of local communities

Selina has raised $225 million in funding since its 2015 launch by co-founders who came from outside of the hospitality sector. The startup said it had separately secured more than $300 million from regional partners to acquire real estate and fund its conversion costs for ongoing projects.

Historically, hotel companies rarely received investment from venture capitalists. Selina’s executives believe it’s unlike traditional players. They argue that most offerings today feel commoditized and inflexible to a few segments of millennial travelers, including so-called digital nomads.

“We provide an offering that’s relevant to these customers who want a surprise in their experience,” said co-founder and CEO Rafael Museri. “We tap the local artists and workshops and let them create an aesthetic. The community decides what kind of wellness programming we’re going to have, what kind of music. Selina is the platform that lets them do it efficiently. We can now convert a property in about two months.”

Intriguingly the company has grown mostly through word of mouth. So far Museri has been skeptical of traditional customer acquisition methods.

“Personally, I never consume a product because I’ve seen a billboard or someone pushed me through the internet,” said Museri. “I’m not a big believer in traditional branding efforts. It’s Selina’s offline content — and how well it helps guests socialize and work and feel fulfilled — that will drive occupancy and repeat business.”

Selina plans to open 35 properties by the end of this year.

Things haven’t entirely gone according to plan. Selina first intended its U.S. premiere to take place in September 2018 in Florida. It later pushed that back to February 2019. Now it says its first three properties in Florida will open sometime in 2019.

In the U.S., the company has signed nine deals, said Yoav Gery, Selina’s president. “We have a strong pipeline beyond that in the U.S. in particular.”

Tel Aviv and Greece are among its upcoming outposts.

Critics said the company has so far not been as fleet of foot when it comes to some operational aspects. Separately, it competes for deal flow with traditional professional services firms that specialize in real estate and investment management and have well-practiced playbooks.

Selina aims to “redefine the way millennials live, work, play, learn, and give back,” said Lincoln Benet of investor Access Industries.

It typically provides dedicated coworking spaces rather than merely encouraging people to work in its lobbies. It usually coordinates wellness or art-related activities for guests to participate in rather than install a gym.

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