What do you do if you have a really nice place with a high mortgage that you would like to rent out, but you don’t really like the idea of random strangers taking over your home? There’s always AirBnB or HomeAway, which sound good in theory as short-term rentals, but you’re still stuck with the possibility of your guests putting their dirty bare feet up on your kitchen table, or sitting naked in your armchair. Gross.
Enter Eventup, the service that lets home- and venue-owners rent out their homes and estates for events. The Santa Monica-based startup announced Monday morning that it has raised $1.8 million in a seed round led by Lightbank, with help from NEA, New World Ventures, and additional angel investors.
I can definitely say that if I had a choice between this and listing my home on AirBnB, I would definitely go the Eventup route. It’s important to think about these things now to prepare for the day I discover an underground oil field in my backyard and I finally make it big.
But CEO Tony Adam tells me that it’s not really that black-and-white. “I don't think they list with us over AirBnB or HomeAway,” he said. “I think they list in all locations. It's a different audience overall and non-competitive in that we don't do overnight stays.”
Eventup, which launched two months ago, is getting in on the flourishing new “collaborative consumption” space. People with property to rent can list their venues for a fee, and people looking for a venue for their event can browse Eventup for houses, yachts, villas, vineyards, and even a castle.
"We've created a comprehensive marketplace of locations for people to book event space," Adam explained to me. "From traditional locations like banquet halls to non-traditional locations like art galleries and warehouses and unique locations like lofts, homes, or large estates."
Some of the venues listed on Eventup include the house from the HBO show Entourage, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s San Francisco home (which is surprisingly affordable at $1000 per booking). Prices range from $1000 to $10,000 and Eventup takes a 10% cut of each booking.
In the two months since launch, Eventup has seen listings increase 100% month over month and now boasts over 3,000 venues nationwide. The site currently serves Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Eventup plans to use the new funds from this round to accelerate its nationwide expansion and put more focus on corporate events.
“When we launched we expected inbound interest from consumers and as of late, we’ve seen revenue growth for things like anniversary parties and birthday parties, but we’ve been blown away by the increase in bookings on the corporate side,” said Adam.
And its new relationship with Lightbank, Groupon’s first backers, Eventup can take advantage of Groupon’s insights into all things local to add more event services, such as caterers, photographers, bartenders, DJs, and more.