MyPlace Started as a Private Community, Now It’s Used in 86 Countries
The sharing economy has been a significant aspect of the startup community in recent years. Giant companies like Airbnb, Uber, WeWork and Rent The Runway all contribute to the increasing global interest in sharing homes, rides, office spaces and even clothes.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that rentals of consumer goods generated $60 billion in revenue in 2018, and the industry has continued to grow ever since. Research shows that by 2025, the sharing economy is set to be valued at $335 billion.
NYC-based MyPlace entered the sharing economy sector in 2019. Rather than being a public site that rents homes to strangers, MyPlace’s invite-only platform operates as a social network. Through the platform, homeowners can list their property for people in their personal network to stay at while they are traveling.
Since MyPlace is not a rental site it assumes no responsibility for agreed costs or home insurance disputes. Despite setting no minimum fees and encouraging free stays, the company saw $2.5 million in total transactions between members last year.
Co-founders Zach Bell and Rameet Chawla initially developed MyPlace as a website they used to organize travel dates between themselves and friends. By seeing the available dates, Bell and Chawla were able to coordinate their travels to stay at friends’ homes for free and vice versa instead of booking stays elsewhere.
After developing the site, they gave the password for it to around 100 of their friends. From there, friends of friends began to list their homes and personal invites grew.
Now, MyPlace has active stay exchanges in 86 countries. Last year, the startup saw user growth increase 40 percent month-over-month. This led to a 50 percent increase in trips each month, 30 percent of which are considered free trips since users didn’t pay to stay at the home.
Last year’s growth led MyPlace to raise a $5.8 million preempted seed round in February led by Freestyle Ventures. The fresh funding will go toward launching a MyPlace iOS app and expanding the company’s presence in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami and other cities.
“Our growth has been completely organic and by word of mouth to date, which is exciting. We anticipate where our community is traveling to and where they’ll be next, and from there we’re able to determine which communities to focus on for expansion,” Bell told Built In via email.
Additional funding will go toward hiring efforts. The startup is on a hunt for a lead product designer, head of engineering, lead iOS developer and COO.
MyPlace’s overall focus for 2022 is to improve the product to better serve its growing community of 3,000 members. The company currently has a waitlist of over 7,500 people.