Peerspace, a peer-to-peer online marketplace where people can find and rent locations for anything from a business meeting to a cooking class or a movie set, today announced a funding round of $11 million. This latest example of a sharing-economy startup gives people access to a broad array of underutilized and under-the-radar spaces.
The startup provides its users access to such locations as abandoned train stations, one-of-a-kind photo studios, and secret rooftop terraces via its website and iOS app. “Behind the scenes, we have built a sophisticated recommendation engine that will serve up spaces that are best suited for each individual user’s needs,” wrote Peerspace founder and CEO Rony Chammas, in an email to VentureBeat. “For example, if a product team is looking to host an offsite strategy session, we know the best places for teams to innovate together and will match that product team with those ideal locations.”
The startup operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York and recently launched in Seattle, Austin, and Chicago. Peerspace takes a small commission on each transaction — 15 percent from the person hosting the space and 5 percent from the customer renting it. The fee includes 24/7 customer support, access to a preferred vendor network for additional services such as catering, and $1,000,000 in insurance liability coverage.
Chammas says that roughly 100,000 booking inquiries have already been processed through Peerspace. “From Linkedin hosting employee offsite, Google, Deloitte, Facebook, and BuzzFeed booking events to a maid of honor planning a bespoke bridal shower, or the BBC filming breaking news, we have seen our spaces used in thousands of different ways,” wrote the chief executive. The startup has created a hashtag, #MadeinPeerspace, to give people a behind the scenes look.
Startups have been eating into the real estate and hospitality sectors for a while now. The largest include Airbnb for renting houses and apartments and WeWork, which offers a trendy community of coworking spaces. One notable newcomer is Knotel, which sets up customizable headquarters.
Peerspace wants to eliminate the need for intermediaries, like location scouts and event planners. “We see more and more business travelers using Airbnb for lodging and Uber for transportation as opposed to hotels and taxis,” wrote Chammas. “In a similar vein, we believe a shift will happen in the corporate meeting and events category. People will ditch hotel ballrooms for something more unique like a Peerspace venue.” The startup views hotel chains and traditional event venues as competitors.
This latest round of funding was led by Foundation Capital, with participation from Carthona Capital, Red Bridge Partners, and Mitsui Fudosan, a real estate developer in Japan. Although Peerspace did not mention any plans to expand to Asia, Chammas did say that the company has additional cities on the horizon.
In the immediate future, the startup will use the new money to further product development and deepen its presence in existing markets. Founded in 2014, Peerspace has raised a total of $18 million and currently has 37 employees across its San Francisco headquarters and New York and Los Angeles offices.