Domio not shutting down, plans “financial re-engineering”

Short-term rental operator has new interim CEO

Domio’s interim CEO Jim Mrha (Photos via Domio; iStock)
Domio’s interim CEO Jim Mrha (Photos via Domio; iStock)

Reports of Domio’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to the company’s interim CEO.

In response to a recent report that said the short-term rental company would cease operations and sell its assets, Jim Mrha, Domio’s interim CEO, said that its properties are, in fact, open for business.

But Mhra, who joined Domio in March after spending more than 30 years in the hotel industry, also acknowledged that the startup is in the midst of a “planned financial re-engineering” through a process called an “assignment of the benefit of creditors,” a measure generally considered as an alternative to formal bankruptcy proceedings.

The process includes a “realignment” of the brand’s portfolio of properties, but the “majority of properties will continue to serve our customers, some properties may leave the system, and new properties will be added,” Mrha said.

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Founded in 2016, Domio operates apartment-hotels. It leases portions of apartment buildings — or entire properties — furnishes the units and rents them out to travelers.

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But the company has struggled in recent months. In August, the Information reported that the startup would rent out its short-term apartments under pseudonyms via Airbnb. After the report, Airbnb suspended all of Domio’s accounts for violating its terms of service.

Domio and Airbnb have since settled the issue, and with listings from the former — now clearly marked as “hosted by Domio” — appearing on Airbnb once again. Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The latest report, also from the Information, said that Domio laid off the majority of its staff earlier this month after failing to raise $10 million in additional capital.

“Unfortunately, conditions precedent to close this round were not achieved,” the company reportedly wrote in a note to its investors. It noted cryptically that “there is a scenario where Domio is able to operate,” but offered no specifics.
Domio currently rents out around 1,000 spaces in Chicago, Miami, Nashville and New Orleans, according to its website. The portfolio maintained a 74 percent occupancy rate in October, Mrha said.

In his email, Mrha said Domio plans to open three new apartment-hotels in Miami, Puerto Rico, and Tulum, Mexico. He did not respond to follow-up questions on specifics related to the ongoing effort to revamp the company’s finances.

The company’s co-founders, CEO Jay Roberts and Chief Strategy Officer Adrian Lam, resigned from their posts and stepped down from the board of directors in September.