MyPlace, a social network intended to help users share their private homes with friends and family, has raised a $5.8 million Seed round led by early-stage VC firm Freestyle Ventures.
Other participants in the Thursday round included Haystack, Oceans and OnDeck, as well as undisclosed angel investors from Tesla, Facebook and PayPal.
Originally launched in 2019, the platform spurred from entrepreneurs Zach Bell and Rameet Chawla as a way for them to share their private homes with their friends. Since then, the network has been utilized by thousands of homeowners in over 86 countries globally – while still operating in its beta stage.
According to Bell, MyPlace’s cofounder and CEO, the community boasts roughly 3,000 members and is hosting a waitlist of over 7,500 people.
For now, the platform operates on an invitation-only approach. To actually join, you need to be invited to the network by a friend who wants to share their house with you. Once on the network, you can go about finding your own friends on it. The platform also has private groups that users can invite each other to.
In its current state, MyPlace is working through its waitlist of people who currently don’t have friends on the network to help them get their own friend groups on the platform.
“This is the beginning of the real sharing economy,” said Bell.
Unlike other short-term rental or home swapping sites, members are not looking to publicly list their homes on the open market. The flipside of that is MyPlace isn’t responsible for any damages or fees that users could incur by sharing their home – placing emphasis on “trust” and “accountability” in the tradeoff.
MyPlace specifically states on its website, if there are any disputes among friends, please resolve it with each other. “You assume the same risk here as when you let a friend stay at your place or you stay at a friends,” the company explains.
In 2021, 30% of all stays on MyPlace were free, as members shared their spaces with their close friends and family, TechCrunch reported. Across the stays that were paid, MyPlace saw $2.5 million worth of transactions between members last year.
With new funding in place, MyPlace is set to bring the product out of beta and launch its iOS app in the summer for brand awareness – just in time for the travel season.
“There is an incredible opportunity for MyPlace to facilitate connections amongst trusted friends, build impactful networks and meaningfully help people move around the world in the new ways that we are seeing,” Bell said.