Lyric CEO Andrew Kitchell and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

A hospitality startup that provides short-rentals for professionals has closed on a $160 million funding round led by Airbnb.

Lyric, which partners with landlords to provide units in multifamily buildings for business travelers, closed on the equity and debt funding round this week, according to TechCrunch. The series B funding round is a huge surge of capital for the company, which had only raised $19 million in previous funding rounds.

The platform has gained significant confidence from institutional investors, including landlords RXR Realty, Tishman Speyer and investor Adam Bain. Previous investors also signed on, including Fifth Wall Ventures, Barry Sternlicht, NEA and Tusk Ventures.

Lyric, which primarily functions as a premium hotel operator, could intersect with Airbnb’s plans for New York, where it is in talks with RXR Realty to open apartment-style units in commercial buildings. This move will allow the home-sharing giant to walk around city laws that prevent short term rentals where the homeowner is not present, but does not apply to commercial buildings or hotels.

The funding round signals another push by Airbnb into the world of hotels, following its $465 million acquisition last month of HotelTonight. The investments are shoring up Airbnb against

Expedia and Booking Holdings, the parent of Booking.com and Priceline.

Lyric, which launched in 2014, is currently in 13 markets and provides studios, and one- and two-bedroom units that start at $200 a night. The new funding will allow the firm to double in size from 500 units to 1,000 units nationwide. [TechCrunch] — David Jeans

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