Looking to share your home with friends? Charleston-based startup BedKin just launched to give you the easiest way to privately and securely offer and manage free visits to your home. With BedKin, anyone can offer their primary or vacation home to family and friends in less than 60 seconds.
While sites like AirBnB and HomeAway are focused on renting homes to strangers, BedKin is built differently because when sharing with friends – trust already exists, privacy matters, booking is informal and gifts replace cash. BedKin hosts bring the demand of their friends to the guest list.
Founder Jeremy Welch came up with the idea for BedKin from his experiences while moving from California to Charleston. During this time, friends offered him places to stay in spare bedrooms, primary residences and vacation homes. Welch saw the opportunity to build an app that would simplify homesharing and build relationships.
BedKin aims to recover what has been lost in the “sharing economy” powered by AirBnB, HomeAway, Lyft, Uber, and many others that enable consumers to rent homes, cars and entire experiences. “The truth is the sharing economy is really a rent-anything economy,” said Welch. “And somewhere on the path to making money, we lost sight of the opportunities afforded by our existing, trusted relationships.”
BedKin is free to use for hosts and guests. Hosts give the gift of offering their home to family and friends without expecting anything in return. Guests can sincerely say “thank you” — through notes, hugs and gifts, instead of cash transactions and rating systems.
“Offering a home-away-from-home is one of the best gifts you can give to a friend,” said Welch. “And guests often bring a nice gift, pay for a cleaning or offer their home in return. We’re excited to help friends strengthen their relationships.”
The app is divided into three tabs. The Visits tab is the center of both hosting friends at your home, and requesting to stay at your friends’ homes. Every visit is a chat between host and guest and a full history from invite to check-out. The app enables you to discuss a visit prior to confirming dates.
The Homes tab shows all your homes, both the ones you lease or own, and the homes that are in your network after friends have shared with you.
The You tab holds all your personal information, including a full Guest List of everyone you’ve offered your home to.
Once a user offers their home to friends, guests can easily confirm dates, send messages, access home information, and more without needing to download the app.
Welch has plans for upcoming features in BedKin including calendar integrations, extended home profiles, faster messaging, and much more.
The company is also announcing $560,000 in funding from Precursor Ventures and other top-tier investors. BedKin customers are currently sharing homes in cities across the US including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Austin, and Charleston, as well as internationally in London, Paris and Japan.
BedKin is built by a team of experienced engineers formerly at Google, PeopleMatter, Invite Media, and SRA International.