MyPlace.co closes $5.8m seed funding round

US: San Francisco-based social network MyPlace.co, which allows friends to share their homes, has closed a $5.8 million seed funding round.

The round was led by venture capital firm Freestyle Capital, with Haystack, Oceans and OnDeck also participating.

Launched in 2019, MyPlace.co is running a “rapidly growing” private beta for its global community, which currently stands at more than 3,000 members and a waitlist of 7,500+ people. The startup requires potential members to submit an application and undergo a strict vetting procedure – which it claims to be a distinguishing factor from its market rivals.

MyPlace relies on referrals to accept new members into the community before applicants participate in a virtual chat with co-founders Zach Bell and Rameet Chawla to understand how they can contribute to the growth and success of the community.

The members-only concept effectively revolves around trust – accepted members can either decide to allow their trusted friends and family to stay in their space/s for free or at reduced rates upon referrals, allowing hosts to earn extra revenue and enhance the trust aspect of the community. That will suit property owners who have been hesitant about listing publicly on platforms such as Airbnb due to concerns over guest verification and security.

Roughly a third of stays follow the home-swapping or traditional “couch surfing” model that helped to propel Airbnb in the early days since its launch, however paid stays generated $2.5 million in gross transactions among members last year, according to Bell.

Now active in more than 86 cities worldwide, including New York, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ibiza and Tulum, MyPlace.co plans to continue vetting its members with a predominantly invite-only model, although it is looking into introducing more home-sharing options, such as allowing its users to create private groups to share homes.