US: Booking platform At Ease Rentals, which connects vacation rental hosts with federal and military members and families during official travel, has launched a crowdfunding campaign through NextSeed.
The company will use the proceeds of the campaign to expand its platform to offer short-term rental options in more areas across the United States, having identified its key markets as San Diego, California; San Antonio, Texas; Austin, Texas; Tampa, Florida; and Pentagon City,Washington DC. It will be focusing heavily on researching the target cities and developing its web application to filter housing properly according to per diem allowances and family size.
Funds from the NextSeed raise will be allocated towards product development [30 per cent], marketing [30 per cent], staff and business development [30 per cent], and long-term product maintenance [ten per cent].
At Ease, the only short-term rental company that caters exclusively to military and federal employees, addresses the pain points of 450,000 military and federal employees that are assigned station transfers each year. Its rental inventory is tailored to the specific needs of families of military and federal personnel and ease the stress of moving every two to three years for a transfer, while the current pandemic does not affect the need for military permanent change of station [PCS].
Owned and operated by active duty and veteran Marines, At Ease has gained extensive personal experience with the logistics of the PCS process, including establishing relationships with the US Department of Defense, and has committed to providing the “most painless experience possible” for military families.
At a time when moves due to military transfers can be stressful and taxing, families often move into temporary housing between leaving their duty station until arriving at a new one and a more permanent residence becomes available.
According to At Ease, many short-term rental platforms are not approved for reimbursement by US government regulations, even if they are typically significantly cheaper than a hotel. Using unapproved booking companies can result in ineligibility for reimbursement and in some instances, even disciplinary action, leaving families with limited options and limited choice.
In a government-funded lodging market believed to be worth $5 billion, At Ease believes it provides a solution to these concerns by offering a one-stop shop for short-term rentals that are pre-approved for reimbursement when used by military and federal employees. Through the company’s platform, families in transition can seek out their ideal rental properties within their designated per diem allowance, which is calculated by the At Ease technology, based on certain profile information such as rank, location and reason for transfer.
The company aims to capture a larger portion of the US housing market through its specific, bespoke channel by helping families settle comfortably into rental homes that provide adequate space for families to live, cook meals and store food, as well as opportunities to explore neighbourhoods for more permanent residential options, thereby reducing their overall stress.
Active duty members also have the opportunity to become hosts themselves by having their homes pre-certified for listing at any time. This therefore allows them to list their own property in the event of PCS, alleviating the burden of renting their property as well as locating a home for their transfer destination.
Its CEO, Anthony Gantt, has over 20 years of honourable service in the US Marine Corps, which has included leading teams of more than 300 personnel.
At Ease will be represented in the upcoming ShortTermRentalz RockSTRz webinar series with a session on “The rise of bespoke booking channels”, taking place on Tuesday 13 October at 4pm BST. Sign up for the webinar here.
In addition, the company has been named as a finalist for the upcoming 2020 MassChallenge Top Startup Competition, for which the winners will be announced on 22 October at the 2020 MassChallenge Virtual U.S. Awards.
At the time of writing, At Ease has raised $210,000 in its NextSeed crowdfunding campaign [175 per cent of its minimum goal] through 204 investors with 69 days remaining.
The offering is being conducted on an expedited basis pursuant to the SEC’s [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] temporary regulatory Covid-19 relief.
For more information on the campaign and how to invest, visit the NextSeed page here.