The Real Deal New York

Breather CEO Julien Smith is out, just months after startup raised $45M

Smith founded the short-term private rental space in 2012; it has raised nearly $120M in total
By David Jeans | September 26, 2018 02:22PM

Julien Smith (Credit: Bryan Hill Media via inoveryourhead)

The co-founder and CEO of Breather has left the short-term space rental startup just months after it raised $45 million in a funding round, The Real Deal has learned.

Julien Smith, who started the Montreal-based company in 2012 along with Caterina Rizzi, is no longer at the firm, the company confirmed Wednesday. He will stay on as chairman of the board.

“As I reflect on my strengths and consider what it will take for the company to reach its full potential, I realize bringing on an executive with experience scaling a company through the next level of growth is the best thing for the business,” Smith said in a statement.

Breather rents out rooms in commercial properties and offers short-term private space rentals, where individuals and business can book spaces for meetings or as offices.

During Smith’s tenure, the firm grew to over 500 spaces in 10 cities, including New York, Chicago, London and Toronto and raised nearly $120 million in venture funding.

Its most recent funding round in June raised $45 million from the likes of Menlo Ventures, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, parent company of real estate investment firm Ivanhoe Cambridge.

Before he founded Breather, Smith co-wrote a popular book about digital influencers called “Trust Agents.”