US: Showplace, a platform for “smarter hosting”, has raised $2 million in seed funding to help design and furnish short-term rentals [including listings on Airbnb and Vrbo] amid a boom in short-term rentals since the beginning of the pandemic.
Aiming to become the modern infrastructure powering 100,000 new Airbnbs by 2024, Showplace claims to provide the “highest-quality” products at wholesale prices, in addition to expert guidance on building a listing that books up with satisfied guests.
The funding round was led by Matchstick Ventures, with participation from Boost VC, Taurus Ventures, and angel investors.
Showplace aims to use the funding to bring greater economies of scale to short-term rental space operators. With platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo seeking to meet growing traveller demand, the company says that it is simplifying the lives of new hosts.
Co-founder and CEO, Justin Miller, said: “Creating a short-term listing has always been an arduous process that involves scouring dozens of retailers for thousands and thousands of household products and design inspirations. We make all of that effortless and incredibly affordable.
“We understand first-hand the entrepreneurship that goes into operating short-term rentals and we are here to solve the toughest problems – at a time when remote work flexibility has created an explosion of growth in the industry. What we’re building is a modern infrastructure for an industry that’s fully maturing,” he added.
The online platform has over 10,000 short-term rental listings and placed over $8 million worth of products into short-term rental homes in 2021.
Short-term rental hosts get started by creating a Showplace account and verifying that they are the active host of an Airbnb or Vrbo. By leveraging collective buying power to negotiate best-in-class pricing on trusted brands, Showplace aims to help operators save money and time with new listing setups and restocking automation.
The company provides access to branded products that it claims are up to 80 per cent off their retail pricing, and uses both automation and human input to create mood boards and a single price to achieve the vision.
Miller initially entered the industry by co-founding short-term rental property management company Pillow, which was later acquired in 2018 by Expedia Group [which owns Vrbo].
Matchstick Ventures partner Natty Zola said: “The Showplace team has a deep understanding of the STR market, and the Showplace platform is already loved by hosts and brands. Showplace is on a mission to make hosting far better for millions of STR owners with a roadmap of innovative ways to improve their lives day in and day out.
“We’re thrilled to be involved with Justin and the team,” added Zola.
Among the angel investors in Showplace are: Logan Green, CEO of Lyft; Matt Van Horn, CEO of June; Garrett Smallwood, CEO of Wag; Jonathan Chen, head of M&A at Twitter; and James Beshara, former director of product at Airbnb.
Showplace’s business model works in a similar vein to product placement network Glimpse and digital commerce marketplace The Host Co., which have also secured seed funding so far in 2022, raising $6.2 million and $1.85 million respectively.