US: Homeswapping start-up Kindred has raised $7.75 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Other participants included Bessemer Venture Partners, Caffeinated Capital and angel investors such as Elad Gil, Opendoor CEO and co-founder Eric Wu, ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia, Clubhouse co-founder and CTO Rohan Seth and Adena Hefets, co-founder and CEO, Divvy Homes.
Founded in 2021 by former Open-door employees Justine Palefsky and Tasneem Amina, Kindred aims to “make travelling more accessible through a unique home-swapping model”.
“We started Kindred after we struggled with the problem ourselves. We were both working remotely and we wanted to take advantage of that flexibility to travel more and work from elsewhere. But none of the existing solutions or ways to do that really made sense for us and for our lives,” Palefsky said. “We felt like we had three options. One, we could get an Airbnb somewhere, which became too expensive for trips longer than just a few nights. Or you could give up your home and become a nomad. Or you could run your home like a hotel and put it on Airbnb to finance your travel. None of those options felt right for us because they are inconvenient and a little scary.”
Kindred’s members-only model works by creating a network for exchanging homes. The idea is that the network is a “trusted” one so that members can feel comfortable in swapping homes. No money is exchanged between members, who pay a $300 annual fee to have the ability to allow someone to stay in their home and vice versa. If a member lets someone stay at their home for a certain number of nights, they can then bank those nights to stay at someone else’s property when they are away.
For every stay, a guest pays Kindred a $30 service fee per night to coordinate the stay and for home protection. Members can arrange a cleaning themselves or Kindred can connect them with a third-party vendor.
Palefsky and Amina claim that a seven-day stay in a home using Kindred is “dramatically more affordable than a vacation rental or hotel”.
“We’re stripping out the nightly fee you would be paying with a hotel,” said company president Amina. “And a stay at an Airbnb would cost anywhere from $1,700 to $3,000 to rent, including the cleaning fee and service fee. On Kindred, you’re paying closer to $300 to $500 for the entirety of the stay. You can go on 10 trips for the cost you would spend on one trip.”
There is no minimum or maximum stay.
A16z general partner Sriram Krishnan said: “Kindred can bring to market net new home inventory in the vacation rental market. The market size of primary residences is massive compared to investment homes. They have the perfect ‘why now’ as remote work has driven an increasing appetite to travel, and we’ve seen that short-term rental platforms are supply constrained, driving up the cost of travel.”