OAKLAND, Calif., March 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Host Co., the first-of-its-kind digital commerce marketplace for short-term rentals, today announced an oversubscribed $1.85 million seed funding round, led by HearstLab with participation from The Artemis Fund and Untapped Capital. In addition, some notable angel investors also participated in the round.
Globally, there are more than ten million Airbnbs and similar rentals. Founded by former HGTV producers Annie Sloan and Mikel Hubbard, The Host Co. offers an easy-to-use platform that adds retail, pre-order services, and curated local vendors to short-term rental spaces, solving a problem that guests have had since the start of Airbnb in 2007.
"We are currently helping short-term rental hosts curate a value-add experience for their guests and make more money from every booking," says Sloan. "Demand for our technology is accelerating at a rapid pace, and we now have a waiting list of over 1,100 additional hosts. This investment will enable us to scale and expand our logistical capabilities, partner with more short-term rental hosts, and further enhance the guest experience."
The company’s platform enables hosts to create an online store to sell anything in their property, from the snacks in the fridge to the art on the walls. There are also additional services including "pre-stock my pantry" and connections to local artisan products for sale. Guests can make purchases before or during their stay. Some items are stocked in the properties, while others can be rented, delivered, offered at a discounted rate for local pickup, or can be purchased to ship back home. The Host Co. makes a reasonable commission on each sale.
The technology is designed to work for all short-term rental platforms, from Airbnb to Vrbo to other types of rentals such as boutique hotels, swimming pools, office spaces, airplanes, and beyond.
"We believe we have developed the right technology in perfect timing," says Hubbard. "On the heels of an incredible year for Airbnb, the short-term rental industry is exploding with tens of thousands of new hosts gearing up every month, primarily women looking to maximize their profits. Our mission is to empower hosts to achieve positive financial and social mobility through the platform."
Across the world, the majority of short-term rental hosts are female and over 40. Most are supplementing their family income. The Host Co. enables them to make as much from selling items as they do from renting spaces. Over 40 percent of guests purchase an item when they stay in an Airbnb or other rental with a Host Co. store and over 90 percent of guests open the store.
"We are excited to partner with The Host Co.’s visionary leadership team as they are successfully reimagining how short-term rentals should work," says Eve Burton, Chairwoman of HearstLab. "Short-term rentals have gone mainstream and now cater to an increased user base that expects the comfort and privacy of a home coupled with hotel-like amenities. The Host Co.’s digital commerce platform is a transformative solution that will allow guests to have more meaningful experiences and short-term rental hosts to grow their businesses. We believe that The Host Co. is fully equipped to revolutionize the short-term rental ecosystem."
"We are proud to back and partner with The Host Co.," says Diana Murakhovskaya, general partner and cofounder at The Artemis Fund. "At Artemis, we love the mission of companies that are intentionally designing for prosperity for many. Providing another income stream to hosts is incredibly compelling especially as women constitute 56 percent of hosts and the fastest growing host demographic is seniors."
ABOUT THE HOST CO.:
The Host Co. is a community, resource, and retail solution for short-term rental hosts and the guests they serve. The company was founded by two HGTV Producers turned Airbnb Hosts. Learn more at www.thehostco.com.
Lauren Gill, MAG PR, E:
, T: 978-473-1362
SOURCE The Host Co.