Cabana Takes the Boutique Hotel Experience and Puts It on Wheels

by Gordon Gottsegen
June 22, 2021
Cabana van in national park
Photo: Cabana

The #vanlife lifestyle has gone mainstream over the past couple of years thanks to social media. Some people portray it as an affordable way to enjoy the most beautiful, Instagram-worthy locations, while others portray it as a cramped and sweaty nightmare. But if you’re about to cancel your lease in order to live in a van full-time, you might want to test the waters first with Cabana.

Cabana is a Seattle startup that designed a fleet of custom-made vans that are available to rent. The company aims to create a hotel-like experience for travelers without actually being tied down to one place.

On Tuesday, Cabana announced that it secured $10 million in a Series A funding round. Craft Ventures and Goldcrest Capital led the round, with Launch, Castor Ventures, Gaingels, Nordic Eye and other investors participating as well.

Cabana launched in 2019 to bring flexibility to travelers and capitalize on the van life movement. The company started with just a small fleet of vans serving the Seattle area, but since then it has expanded its fleet to 35 vehicles and now serves Los Angeles as well. To date, Cabana has raised $15 million in total capital.

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The company says that almost 70 percent of its customers have never used an RV or camper van before, showing its appeal to van-curious travelers. The company also adds that 92 percent of its customers say they would book with Cabana again.

Cabana felt the tailwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic, which provided a boost to non-traditional forms of travel. Air travel plummeted as many Americans opted to stay away from crowded airports and hit the roads instead. On top of that, many tech professionals adapted to remote work by renting Airbnbs and working in less densely populated areas.

These factors helped Cabana reach over 6,700 nights booked in the short time since its launch. This new funding will allow the company to accelerate growth even faster. The company plans to add over 100 vehicles to its fleet and introduce a larger four-person van offering.

Cabana is also hiring, hoping to add several people to its team of 15. The company currently has 10 Seattle-based job openings, across roles in engineering, marketing, operations, management and more.

“This new round of funding allows us to significantly grow and evolve the Cabana platform, focusing on building out hardware, software and infrastructure beyond what we’ve created to date,” Cabana CEO and founder Scott Kubly said in a statement. “We launched during the pandemic when non-traditional travel exploded in popularity, giving us a solid foundation to build from and the ability to test various things and get insights from our customers — all extremely valuable to us as a startup — and are looking at expanding the Cabana experience beyond the van itself.”

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