A YC-backed hourly home rental startup says demand is booming amid city-wide shutdowns, but its future depends on quarantine-weary workers staying put

eric xu manny bamfo

Globe, an hourly home rental startup backed by Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator, said that it has completely reworked its business model during the pandemic-induced shelter-in-place orders across the United States.
The new model relies heavily on listings from property managers who have seen a drop in requests for rentals they’ve previously hosted on Airbnb.
Cofounder and CEO Manny Bamfo told Business Insider that the strategy and upfront technical investments paid off handsomely with a significant increase in demand.
To comply with local ordinances, Bamfo said Globe is only available for “essential” activities like job interviews or working space that falls within three blocks of a guest’s home address.
As massive tech companies like Facebook and Shopify embrace long-term remote work, Bamfo said Globe could provide a default office for digital nomads, but his startup’s model is dependent on high-density cities that many workers are fleeing.
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An hourly home rental startup is trying to make lemonade out of lemons during the coronavirus pandemic.

Globe allows its users to rent empty homes, apartments, and rooms by the hour. When it launched at Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator’s annual Demo Day in September, cofounder and CEO Manny Bamfo proclaimed that it would become a second space for constrained professionals unhappy with open office floor plans, or traveling workers who wanted privacy instead of coworking spaces.

But over the last three months, Globe’s entire world spun off its axis as states enacted shelter-in-place orders to stave off the coronavirus pandemic. Offices closed, workers toiled at home, and kitchens and living rooms became the de facto second spaces Globe once wanted to provide. The same tectonic shifts have revealed cracks in the bedrock under Globe’s big brother, home-sharing startup Airbnb, as most non-essential travel ground to a halt. All of a sudden, the young startup’s future looked a lot less promising.

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“We worked with hosts that would open up their spaces in the middle of the day while they were at work, but in mid-February through early March, that part of our business tanked,” Bamfo told Business Insider. “We were terrified.”

But Globe’s biggest weaknesses, namely that it was relatively young and had less cash in the bank than Airbnb, also made it easier to adapt. In the span of a few weeks, Bamfo said his team had reworked the host process to accommodate property managers fleeing Airbnb.

Before February, Globe essentially let anyone with a lease rent out empty space in their homes while they were away. The process of renting out a space on Globe was quick and simple, and almost anyone could do it.

Now, Bamfo said they’ve created an official application and listing process, something the property managers had become accustomed to when listing on Airbnb. The sudden halt in non-essential travel meant that rental managers were often sitting on tens of empty properties and losing money, fast. So they reached out to Globe about listing their city-bound properties on Globe as work …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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