BIZ BUZZ: Hotel 101 going global | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Hotel 101 going global

/ 02:24 AM January 12, 2023

Businessman Edgar “Injap” Sia II wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted one of his ventures to become the Philippines’ first true “unicorn,” or an innovative startup firm that usually leverages off technology to raise its valuation above the $1-billion mark.

That business is, of course, Hotel 101 which the billionaire wants to expand into a global chain that will, if plans pan out, have value hotels in over 100 countries in the not too distant future.

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Biz Buzz learned that Sia is now busy preparing to make investment pitches to several offshore funds starting next week, specifically from Jan. 18 to 31, in a bid to raise interest from venture capital-minded entities for the so-called Series A funding.

Series A funding rounds refer to the earliest stages of a startup firm’s capital-raising activities, and provide opportunities to more aggressive investors to join promising firms at the very start of their growth journey. Naturally, this stage is riskier for any investor, but the risks are offset by the possibility of making a killing if the startup succeeds and goes mainstream through an initial public offering a few years down the road.

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In the case of Hotel 101, this month’s fund-raising effort will mark the first time for Sia, the self-made billionaire entrepreneur from Iloilo, to tap the Series A route to gain fresh capital. And because it’s a new experience for him, we hear he’s been busy preparing his sales pitch to make it as compelling as possible for his would-be business partners.

The business model is novel. Hotel 101 buyers sign up their condo units as part of a pool of rooms which management rents out to business and leisure travelers. The owners then earn a yield on their units with the total revenues (less some costs) divided evenly among the number of owners of a particular Hotel 101 development whether their units are occupied or not (unlike, say, investing in an AirBnB unit that only earns when someone rents it).

More importantly, however, Sia will have significant progress to show potential investors when he asks them to join his venture. Hotel 101 is set to complete and open over the next few weeks two of its newest locations: one in Bonifacio Global City, just across C-5 from SM Aura, and another in Davao City.

Additionally, construction of Hotel 101’s first foreign venture in the skiing mecca of Niseko in Hokkaido, Japan, is progressing well and may be ready for occupancy by the 2024 winter season.

If plans work out, it’s not impossible to see Hotel 101 overtaking the traditional businesses of DoubleDragon Corp. in size in the not too distant future. Watch this space, folks.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Missing mojos

Fans of Shakey’s Pizza’s “Chicken n’ Mojos” are disappointed to find out that these days, their fried chicken bundles don’t come with mojos, which are just as iconic as their signature pizza products. Instead, the country’s leading pizza parlor chain is serving french fries, albeit using the same seasoning, to replace mojos for the meantime.

The mojos were “temporarily phased out” due to issues with suppliers, a store server said. Any mention of that being “phased out” is enough to send shivers down the spine of voracious mojo eaters.

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So we asked the head office of Shakey’s Asia Pizza Ventures Inc. for how long they would be unavailable and they assured that “mojos haven’t been phased out and they’re on the way.”

“Hopefully, by month end, these should be back in all our stores,” a spokesperson said.

It turns out Shakey’s has encountered some supply chain issues, but these are thankfully not about to reach crisis proportions like with the country’s current onion woes.

“We didn’t experience shortage from our suppliers. The shipments just got delayed because of supply chain bottlenecks,” the company spokesperson said.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
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