Meet the 21st batch of 500 Startups companies
500 Startups' next batch of accelerator companies is launching now that its previous demo day has wrapped up, this time seemingly having ...
Vacayo will lease and furnish your vacant rental property in under 72 hours
Innovative and highly scalable model guarantees landlords higher income
Landlords get an “Instant Rental Offer” using our online proprietary quoting tool
Revenue of $1.3M, 20% MOM growth, proven unit economics
Raised $800k in 2017
Alumni of and backed by 500 Startups
A growing backlog of landlords waiting to onboard just by word of mouth
Fastest-growing sector in travel expected to reach 190 Billion by 2019
Airbnb has ignited a fast-growing interest in the short-term rental market. But most landlords still rent the “traditional” way or let their properties sit empty. Many pay high broker fees to secure a tenant, but still face vacancy risks because brokers only find tenants for a fee - they don’t guarantee their work. When landlords do find tenants, they’re burdened with managing every issue that arises during their tenancy - background checks, move-in/out, collecting rents, etc. The whole process is clunky, costly and time-consuming.
We’ve built a tech-powered solution for landlords that gives them true passive income. Unlike traditional property managers, Vacayo is fee-less! We rely on an arbitrage model, using our machine-learning algorithm to assess the earning potential of a home in real time. Landlords no longer have to choose between capitalizing on their investment and spending time with family!
To scale inventory while maintaining a quality guest experience, we use Property Managers vetted through Airbnb’s Superhost network. Our property managers are local hospitality experts with the highest ratings on Airbnb. They function as independent contractors and have become our company’s biggest evangelists.
Raised $800K in 2017 from several VC and Angel sources
Plan to raise $1.5M with a valuation cap of $10M get to institutional Series A round in June 2019
Thank you for checking out our campaign. We started Vacayo as a “side hustle” to help us pursue career goals. Truth, my then-roommate in New York City, had founded a health-tech startup that needed funding. His plan was to move to Florida and buy an investment property, but when he shared this news my reaction was “Not so fast.” I feared losing a roommate and figured there must be an alternative.
The two of us brainstormed until we hit upon an idea: What if, instead of buying a property, we just “Airbnb’d” our spare bedroom? This marked the unofficial launch of Vacayo. Our first listing booked out solid and we began leasing more places as landlord interest poured in. We didn’t know it at the time, but we’d pioneered a completely new business model—short term rental management that included furnishing and fixed income.
Since then, we’ve spoken to hundreds of landlords and discovered that a combination of fixable factors—including fear of unstable income—prevent them from renting short-term. A landlord’s worst nightmare is furnishing a home and then failing to attract guests! By bridging that gap and using the latest technology to add efficiency, Vacayo provides an invaluable service.
We are passionate about our ability to transform underperforming rentals homes into generous passive income streams for our clients. For Superhosts, they can use their passion to build flexible and fulfilling careers. On the traveler’s side, we offer functional and affordable group accommodations. Watching all the people we touch through Vacayo motivates us to push forward.
JOIN US in our mission to help people earn financial freedom through real estate. It’s the American Dream 2.0. With your support, we can help make it a reality for families across the world!
The smallest investment amount that Vacayo is accepting.
The largest investment amount that Vacayo is accepting.
Vacayo needs to reach their minimum funding goal before
the deadline. If they don’t, all investments will be refunded.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup,
meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup, meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
$50,000 – $1,070,000
Vacayo needs to raise
before the deadline. The maximum amount Vacayo is willing
to raise is $1.07M.
I think real estate will be one of the next big areas in startups.
The company's traction is undeniable and I love their concept, hustle. I've been tracking their raise and I think it speaks to their perseverance and drive. I have VERY high hopes for this investment.
I invested because I believe in Truth and Isabel and because I'm a landlord that would love them to come to Canada and offer Vacayo here as well.
The Vacayo Analytics Team has developed a pricing algorithm that takes into account factors like zip code, number of bedrooms, historical pricing data, and current neighborhood prices to adjust nightly rates and maximize revenue. In addition, Vacayo uses a dynamic pricing formula to fill any open dates or last minute cancellations and ensure the property is always booked.
There is no out-of-pocket expense to landlords to work with Vacayo. Rent-Share gives homeowners a predetermined monthly income from their short term rentals. Every month, Vacayo will pay homeowners a set fee for the privilege of managing their rental home. Using over 75 criteria including zip code, number of bedrooms, and amenities, Vacayo is able to accurately predict both occupancy and daily pricing.
At Vacayo, we screen guests before they complete reservations, and we inspect the property and document any problems between guests. In the unlikely event of guest damage, we insure each property through our partner, Proper Insurance, which covers all building damage and liability.
After managing thousands of reservations, we’ve got this one down! We use tools provided by our booking partners (Airbnb, VRBO) to only accept guests who have positive reviews. In addition, we require every guest to provide an ID (which we check) and sign our house manual prior to arrival. In addition, we install smart technology in each home that includes: motion-detecting cameras outside the home, a “smart” doorbell, and Noiseware devices to ensure our house rules are being upheld.
Our advantage is the experienced team in the space with 4 of the core members being Columbia University scholars and 1 Boston University graduate. 2 of us have built houses from the ground up, and understand real estate very well. Furthermore, Columbia University owns one of the largest real estate portfolios, and we have access to their management team and partnership programs.
4 core members and advisors have over 50 years of professional real estate experience
Substantive traditional Real Estate experience
Early interaction with AirBNB to define the space
Our Superhosts allow us to scale more quickly than any of our competitors. They are involved from the beginning with vetting prospective units, and also act as evangelists who promote our product within their networks. On the management end, there’s is little training needed and they help us ensure that a home is furnished and ready for the first guest in 48 hours.
We have worked with Airbnb's founder Brian Chesky and Joe Zadeh in NYC. We created their first physical guidebook before they made it digital. We have regular conversations with them and spoke to Alex their partnership lead early last week to develop a deeper partnership.
Airbnb has tons of cash, so if they choose to enter this market, they will do it with an acquisition as we have seen with Tilt, Luxury Retreats, and many others. They won't bother to build from scratch in a space that requires dealing with many small homeowners. We know that their goal is to become an online travel agent (OTA), competing with TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and Expedia, so we see the chance of them entering this market as an exit opportunity for Vacayo.
We are building a company we want to last, so IPO makes the most sense. Selling to Airbnb in 3-5 yrs to partner and run independently is not outside a reasonable possibility. Though our goal is to help homeowners, and our ability to continue doing this at an excellent pace will determine how we exit.
Truth Oladapo: We're doing what we love, so it's not like work. If we were working somewhere else, this is what we'd be doing on the side. So for us, that really gives us that excitement every morning when we wake up knowing that this is what we want to do on and off.
Isabel Berney: For me, I love seeing something grow from like a grass roots, very small stage, and sort of seeing it blossom and really the challenge of building something out of nothing.
Truth Oladapo: We don't get too many opportunities as entrepreneurs to kinda share our story and reveal what we're going through to other people, so whenever we get that little chance, we're excited to do it.
Isabel Berney: So, I'm Isabel, COO of Vacayo.
Truth Oladapo: And I'm Truth Oladapo, CEO of Vacayo, and in the next two minutes, we're gonna find out if you, the Drapers, can handle the truth. What started as a side hustle is now a fast-growing business where we're helping landlords like Jenny to help manage our vacation rental properties. [inaudible 00:24:01] research showed that it takes over eight hours a week to manage just one short-term rental property. That's where Vacayo come in to lease and furnish your home, ready for guests in 48 hours. Our software, a realistic platform, helps manage the complexity and helps landlords earn a higher income. We use local superhosts who are experts in the short-term rental industries with the highest ratings on VRBO and our landlord gets an analytics platform to understand and [inaudible 00:24:31] that investment.
Isabel Berney: I'm sure you have heard of Airbnb. They're huge. What you probably don't know is that Airbnb has less than 4% of second homes in the U.S. Vacayo is targeting the six million plus other homes and bringing them online to meet the growing demand. We have launched in five cities with over 60 properties, generating 1.8 million in revenue and growing 10% week over week. While many of the competitors in our space are focused on the travel side, we are one of the few ones that focuses on the demand.
Truth Oladapo: The home gets matched with a superhost and get an alert on their mobile to vet the home within an hour. The lease is signed and our furnishing partner then furnish the home the next day. Yeah, so we guarantee their monthly rent and then, for us, we just take on all the complexity from there. Every month they get a check directly into their bank account. If you are looking to partner and help people understand real estate, then you found the right team.
Tim Draper: So, tell me, how is this different from Pillow, as I understand that that's what they do for all those Airbnbs.
Truth Oladapo: So, the key difference is that Pillow is not removing the constraint of getting onto this platform. So, out of the 8 million homes that are out there, about 1.5 million is already on Airbnb and different platforms. Pillow goes in there and optimize those homes from the traditional brokers. What we're doing is finding homes that the landlords don't have the ability to furnish and get on this platform, so we're actually growing the market rather than optimizing the market.
Jesse Draper: How do you furnish these places?
Isabel Berney: We've partnered with Ikea and Wayfair and then they just do next day delivery to us. All the other inventory items is Amazon Prime Now, so that takes care of everything else.
Bill Draper: And all the furniture from the homeowner is out of there?
Isabel Berney: A few homes have come with some furniture, but for the majority of the homes, they come unfurnished because they are actually planning to probably put a long-term tenant in there until they realize they can make more money with less effort with us, so it's like better, cheaper, faster.
Cindy Whitehead: You're gonna make more money if I go through your platform than if I were to get somebody to lease my property for 12 months. Help me understand that.
Isabel Berney: So, we offer 10% higher income to landlords. I mean, that's like a general. You know, we have some that maybe get a little bit less, and the way that we do it is it's an arbitrage. So, our margins are around 40%. We give 10% of that to the landlord and then keep the 30% for ourselves. So, we're able to do it because you make a lot more with turnover, short-term rental market is obviously exploding, so because we're able to make more, and we also furnish for groups so we're not competing with hotels like some of our competitors, or they haven't really thought of that so they'll have a two bedroom that sleeps four, so we would put eight people in there and we are attracting more money because our travelers don't have as many options.
Tim Draper: You said your revenues were 1.8 million?
Truth Oladapo: Yes, the gross.
Tim Draper: Gross for the year?
Truth Oladapo: Yes.
Tim Draper: And what does that get you?
Truth Oladapo: So, it's about 10k a month. So, it's not super high because we are focused on lower level homes, but our key is to now get higher level homes that increase the margin.
Tim Draper: And are you, you're not profitable yet?
Truth Oladapo: So we are profitable, yes, about 10k a month. So, it's like ...
Tim Draper: Oh, it's going to your bottom line after all your costs.
Truth Oladapo: After our costs, yes.
Tim Draper: Oh, wow.
Truth Oladapo: So we pay our superhost about 20k. Our run-in expenses [inaudible 00:27:53] becomes about 20k and then another 20k goes into expenses like furniture and things like that. After all that is taken out, we get about 10/11k a month depending on ...
Bill Draper: So that's 120,000 a year and what kind of money are you looking for and what do you wanna do with it?
Truth Oladapo: So, we're looking to get 900k to build up our technology, so our biggest expense is technology, and as we project forward to see how we grow, we realize that once we ramp up technology, we're gonna hit the red.
Cindy Whitehead: Truth, what did you say your average signed lease, like the duration of the lease that you guys are getting signed?
Truth Oladapo: Two years.
Isabel Berney: Well we're still young, so we're renewing all our leases. We haven't had six, seven years. We have one lease that's 10 years that's in an amazing property in San Diego that we're like, "Okay, it's a no brainer that it's gonna make a lot of money, and it is."
Cindy Whitehead: Thank you. Thanks for the clarification.
Tim Draper: How did you two meet?
Truth Oladapo: We met looking for real estate in New York. So, I ...
Tim Draper: Wait, together? Are you married?
Truth Oladapo: Yes, we are.
Isabel Berney: Yes.
Truth Oladapo: So we were out looking for real estate. I've been in real estate since I was 15. She grew up with her dad who is a leasing attorney in New York. We met, kept in touch. Three months later, we reconnected and then we started working together on the side ...
Jesse Draper: It took you three months to ask her on a date?
Truth Oladapo: Yeah.
Bill Draper: So, how big will this be in five years?
Isabel Berney: We could probably be at 6,000 homes. I mean, we can grow ...
Bill Draper: What does that mean in dollars, revenue?
Truth Oladapo: Right now, we're looking to raise 900k, which would get us to 600 homes and 600 landlords would love us. And that would give us over a million in revenue.
Tim Draper: Does this business have to be kind of a region by region business?
Truth Oladapo: We understand it's going to be a problem [inaudible 00:29:41] centralize, so you need to use a network of people. So, we're building a massive network of superhosts who we can deploy into different cities. So, right now, we're focusing on three markets, but when we're ready to move into other markets, we would have already landlords in our system ... If we're in San Diego now, there's a thousand landlords [inaudible 00:29:58] who heard about us through San Diego, so the more we flip on that switch, our superhosts then go manage those homes and that's kinda how we scale this across the city.
Jesse Draper: Do you pay for the furniture?
Isabel Berney: Yeah, we pay for the furniture.
Jesse Draper: So, you pay for the furniture, but you're partnering with all of these guys who will get it to you really quickly.
Truth Oladapo: Yes.
Jesse Draper: And so what does that typically cost you for like a two bedroom?
Isabel Berney: When we're buying the furniture, we can furnish a home inexpensively, let's say a two bedroom, for around 3,500 on Ikea. If we're renting, that's about 200 a month.
Cindy Whitehead: Truth, this isn't your first startup, right? Didn't I read that? So, you had one before. What were the best lessons learned in the last one?
Truth Oladapo: Build a team that's central and in the same location and build very fast.
Jesse Draper: Is there any reason that booking.com, Airbnb would oust you and not let you work with them anymore?
Truth Oladapo: No, because it's a difficult problem to solve and they actually have an easier problem to solve where they can just sit there and collect the commission. So, coming down to this space would be an expensive endeavor that if I had the opportunity to have their business, that's the business I would take.
Jesse Draper: So, 900,000 for tech and then what's the valuation?
Truth Oladapo: 8 million.
Jesse Draper: 8 million.
Tim Draper: So, let's get some questions from our audience, shall we?
Truth Oladapo: Yep.
Isabel Berney: Yep, ready.
Audience 2: I used to work at Airbnb and you guys are also a marketplace. What is your customer acquisition strategy both on the supply side and demand?
Truth Oladapo: In terms of strategy, looking for landlords who are not already into the vacation rental industry, one thing that's not being [inaudible 00:31:33] right now in travel is that more people are multi-generational travel is happening more, and now you see young couples, three of them, band together and travel. On the landlord side, we're looking for homes that we can furnish for groups, and on the demand side, we're using Airbnb, focus on really helping our landlords who are our main customers.
Tim Draper: Terrific. Well, thank you so much for coming.
Isabel Berney: Thank you.
Truth Oladapo: Super energized. I feel like I could go on and on just because it took a while to really grasp the concept and build up this high emotions and then we got in there and it was a lot calmer, so it's like there's this energy that I prepared to expend that wasn't necessary.
Isabel Berney: I mean, they were challenging questions, but it felt more like a conversation. It didn't feel like a typical VC meeting where just like boom, boom, they're just shooting questions at you, so I think it was more conversational than I expected it to be, more relaxed. It's the build up that really creates all that anxiety and then you're just doing it. So, I think I learned that for next time to just chill out.
Truth Oladapo: Really looking forward to hearing what they decide.
Tim Draper: I love that his name is Truth.
Jesse Draper: It's so cool.
Tim Draper: Yeah. I thought they were great. What I'm worried about is competition. There is a lot of competition out there, but they seem to have figured out how to do it and how to make money doing it. I mean, they're profitable. Once again, we have a profitable company.
Jesse Draper: I love profitable companies.
Tim Draper: So much fun.
Jesse Draper: Yeah.
Tim Draper: And so now it's just a matter of how big can they get. It's a big change and I think this is a potential winner.
Jesse Draper: Yeah, me too, and I think the low level, they were going after the low-level housing, and that was interesting. They said they wanna go into like higher level housing, but maybe that's the market for them. Maybe that's where they stay and it's different.
Bill Draper: I've had bad luck with investing in married couples.
Jesse Draper: Oh, I've had great luck with it.
Bill Draper: Is that true?
Jesse Draper: Yeah.
Bill Draper: But I would say these two are exceptional. I mean, I really liked them and if they execute well, and I suspect they will, I think it'll be a winner.
Cindy Whitehead: First, impressive that you picked that up. I thought impressive that you picked that up.
Tim Draper: I can always spot it.
Jesse Draper: I had that quick thought because I saw [inaudible 00:33:51] something.
Bill Draper: I thought maybe they were married in that I had that ... But I don't, I wouldn't have asked them.
Cindy Whitehead: Draper intuition, I'm impressed with this, I like this. I did love his answer ...
Tim Draper: We would like you to become a member of the Draper family.
You are an honorary member and we're adopting you.
Cindy Whitehead: Thank you, I appreciate it.
Tim Draper: I knew Jesse was all into pink and now we need the pink ...
Cindy Whitehead: You do.
Tim Draper: Absolutely. So, how are we gonna vote on this one?
Jesse Draper: Okay. Thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs all around.
Tim Draper: I'm at three quarters.
Jesse Draper: I'm up. I have more questions, but I think that they're great. This is your opportunity. Vote, invest. Vacayo is who you're voting for right now and this is your opportunity. Vote or invest in the next 48 hours to support this company. Do you think they're the winner?
Investors should verify any issuer information they consider important before making an investment.
All securities-related activity is conducted by OpenDeal Portal LLC doing business as Republic, a funding portal which is registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a funding portal (Portal) and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Republic is owned by OpenDeal.
Investments in private companies are particularly risky and may result in total loss of invested capital. Past performance of a security or a company does not guarantee future results or returns. Only investors who understand the risks of early stage investment and who meet the Republic's investment criteria may invest.
Republic does not verify information provided by companies on this Portal and makes no assurance as to the completeness or accuracy of any such information. Additional information about companies fundraising on the Portal can be found by searching the EDGAR database.