Monaker Group (MKGI) Set to Carve a Niche in the Alternative Lodging Market


– Monaker Group inked private placement deals with prominent financial institutions and board members

– The company moves ahead with the NASDAQ listing process, as stipulated by the private placement deal

– The company is working on finalizing its deal with Trisept

Monaker Group Inc. (MKGI) is an emerging player in the online travel market, offering its Alternative Lodging products and services in both B2C and B2B segments. The company is well positioned to augment its position in the fast-growing online travel market, which is expected to touch $1 trillion by 2022. Monaker is taking a holistic approach to boosting its visibility in the segment. The company is going full steam ahead to augment the product inventory on its Booking Engine by entering into new collaborations. It is also constantly upgrading its technology as it recently launched its apps for Android and iOS platforms. The company has taken steps to solidify its financial position, to fund its operating activities. Monaker is moving ahead with the process seeking to list its shares on NASDAQ, which is likely to be completed by the end of this year.

Monaker has taken several steps to boost its financial position as the company goes ahead with developing and marketing its new alternative lodging products and white label solutions. The company recently announced the completion of a private placement of its stock. The deal yielded over $3 million for the company in gross proceeds. 21 percent of the proceeds or $635,000 from the board members and certain insiders, while remaining proceeds are attributed to prominent financial institutions including Pacific Grove Capital, an up and coming hedge fund launched by former Scout Capital Management executive Jamie Mendola. Venture capitalist Mendola has a strong pedigree behind him. A Stanford business school graduate, Mendola has worked with JPMorgan Chase and other major institutions. His latest venture Pacific Grove Capital specializes in small to midsize companies. The strategy allows the venture capital to have in-depth knowledge about its investee companies. Monaker thus stands to benefit from personalized expertise and mentoring provided by Pacific Grove Capital.

The deals entitle the purchasers to one common share and one warrant for a purchase price of $2.00. Each warrant entitles the holder to purchase one common share at an exercise price of $2.10 per share, with an expiration date five years from the date of issuance.

The deal was timely as Monaker moves ahead with making technological upgradations and other improvements in its products. The company intends to use the proceeds for augmenting its alternative lodging rentals inventory as well. The placement was also a step forward towards the company gaining listing on a stock exchange. The terms of the agreement require Monaker to apply for a listing of its common shares on the NASDAQ Capital Market within 60 days following the closing of the offering.

The company had its intention clear to seek NASDAQ membership for the stock. Monaker recently carried out a number of board appointments to comply with the requirements of NASDAQ listing. Recent appointments included Robert Post, president and CEO of Cloud5 Communications and executive chairman of The Knowland Group, to the company’s board of directors. Mr. Post has held a number of c-level positions at large hospitality and travel companies including Open Table, Micros, and TravelClick. His appointment took the number of independent directors on the board to four, thus complying with NASDAQ requirement of having a majority of independent directors on the board.

Monaker also benefits from the collective expertise of its seasoned management. Among its prominent directors is Don Monaco who has nearly thirty years of high profile corporate experience with companies such as Accenture. He is the principal owner of Monaco Air Duluth, LLC a full-service, fixed-base operator aviation services business at Duluth International Airport and provides Monaker with a deep understanding of the travel market. Another noteworthy director of the company is Simon Orange whose expertise lies in corporate finance and M&A. He is the co-founder of CorpAcqu, which maintains long-term investments in a diverse portfolio of successful businesses. With the recent appointments, Monaker is well positioned to harness the knowledge and skills of its directors to forge new collaborations and grow.

The company is also working on forming additional distribution channels and relationships with major players in the online travel segment. It recently reported developments about its deal with Trisept Solutions, which is a sister company to Mark Travel. The agreement pertains to Monaker’s alternative lodging product for uploading and distribution through the Trisept distribution channels and partners. Trisept’s travel distribution platforms and channels include VAX VacationAccess, Xcelerator and Synapse. The Monaker and Trisept began integration in 2016 and completion is likely to be finalized in the near-term.

Monaker’s B2B offering is centered around providing travel distributors such as agents, airlines and cruise companies access to large global inventory of alternative lodging (or commonly called “vacation rental”) properties in a white label solution. The company’s platform provides these properties on instant bookable basis, helping travel partners capture their portion of the rapidly growing segment looking for alternative stay options. More and more tourists are now exploring rental accommodations over traditional hotel or resort stays. In order to help its travel associates, Monaker is further boosting its B2B initiative by supplying ALR products, along with optional tour activities. The company also offers its partners the ability to mark listings up or down to meet their own internal requirements. A main differentiator for Monaker to other peer Vacation Rental companies, is that all the properties available in Monaker’s inventory are open for instant bookings. This feature helps in removing uncertainty for the vacationers as it also makes the booking process smoother and faster. The company also gets an edge over its peers such as Airbnb, which generally require the users to wait for the confirmation of their bookings. Monaker is all set to carve a niche for itself in online travel market on the back of its robust product, solid technological innovation and experienced management to steer it through the competition.

With technology upgrades and the recent capital infusion, Monaker is positioning to stake ground and customers with its alternative lodging white label B2B solution, while more established peers such as Airbnb, Expedia ($EXPE) and Priceline ($PCLN) continue to focus directly on the consumer with tedious request-accept B2C approach.


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