Glimpse secures $6.2m in seed funding round

US: Glimpse, a product placement network for short-term rentals, has announced that it has closed a seed funding round of $6.2 million.

The round was led by GSR Ventures with participation from Origin Ventures, Y Combinator and a number of angel investors including Julia and Kevin Hartz, Bradley Horowitz and Bangaly Kaba.

To date, Glimpse has helped brands launch product placement campaigns in more than 8,000 short-term rental properties, with items ranging from bedding to consumer electronics, beauty products, kitchen and home office accessories, fitness gear and furniture.

After launching in 2020, the startup’s reasoning for launching revolves around two key visible trends – firstly, the emergence of the short-term rental asset class into the mainstream during the Covid-19 pandemic, and secondly, the tightening of digital privacy laws.

The latter has led more companies to seek new ways to reach consumers since they cannot rely so heavily on digital advertising. As a result, Glimpse has since partnered with brands such as mattress company Purple, canned water startup Liquid Death and massage gun producer Lyric, to place their products in short-term rental units and open up new demographics for their services.

Akash Raju, co-founder and CEO of Glimpse, said: “Short-term rentals provide the perfect environment for customer engagement, as guests can truly experience these products in their intended setting.”

Brands that work with Glimpse are required to pay a subscription fee that is based on how many rental units their products are placed in, giving them full control over the properties in which they showcase themselves and guest engagement tracking capabilities.

The concept has become known as “experiential marketing”, allowing brands to showcase their products by leveraging the network of a startup such as Glimpse. This also catches the attention of social media influencers who are more likely to share their experiences with new products on channels such as Instagram and TikTok to promote themselves and the products, bringing them to a wider audience.

Raju told Forbes: “The founders thought the strategy could allow rental hosts to elevate the guest experience while giving brands a way to get their products directly into the hands of consumers. They launched Glimpse in 2020, and the startup now works with more than 150 brands who showcase their products through a network of 8,000 short-term rentals.

“We’ve been seeing an incredible pull on both sides of the platform. The main reason is it is a win-win-win situation,” he added.

As well as seeing 40 per cent month-on-month growth of short-term rental units coming on board, Glimpse plans to build out its team with the investment.

The service works in a similar way to The Host Co., a digital commerce marketplace for short-term rentals, which recently closed an oversubscribed $1.85 million seed funding round. The Host Co. provides access to retail, pre-order services and a curated selection of local vendors to enhance the short-term rental experience with added value.