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Most Innovative Companies

Graduate Hotels

The World's Most Innovative Companies 2018

Created by AJ Capital Partners founder and CEO Ben Weprin, the university town–focused Graduate Hotels seems like a niche concept. Look more closely, though, and the enormous potential is apparent. The hospitality brand, which places its properties near prominent college campuses, ended 2017 with 10 hotels, and is growing quickly. Graduate is looking to open 25 outposts by 2020, with a goal of hitting 100 markets in the next decade. (It has the capital: Weprin oversees two real estate investments funds, which have raised $1.5 billion.) Outposts in Seattle and Iowa City are opening soon, followed by one near the Cornell Tech campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. The company has carved out a new market for hotels by bringing a design sensibility and welcoming public spaces to college campuses in second- and third-tier cities that were often only being served by motels and generic big brands. By entering into smart real estate deals in prime locations, Graduate ensures its hotels become part of the fabric of a university town. With great design, interesting F&B concepts, and programming that authentically engages guests, they become a hub for students, faculty, parents, and visitors. And by targeting university towns, which draw in alumni and conference-goers, they have found a captive audience.   

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headquarters: Chicago, IL
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