Anyplace raises $5.3 million to provide a home (office) away from home – TechCrunch

In the age of remote work, people want as much flexibility as possible to live where they want, when they want.

It’s no surprise that we’ve seen a slew of startups emerge to give people more options for long-term stays. Anywhere is one such startup. A self-described “digital nomad,” Satoru Steve Naito says he co-founded San Francisco-based Anyplace in 2017 because he wanted the product for himself.

True to its name, Anyplace started life as a marketplace that gives people the ability to book hotels or rentals for 30 days or more. anywhere they want. This market is now present in more than 60 countries in more than 450 cities. And now the startup is transitioning into an operator role with its latest product, Anyplace Select, which is designed so remote workers and business travelers can work from anywhere with furnished apartments that include a “fully equipped” home office.

As the pandemic rages on and offices continue to be closed, more people have had the opportunity to move around like never before. Anyplace launched Select last year in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and San Diego, and achieved a $1 million fulfillment rate within seven months of its launch, according to Naito, who is the CEO of the society. The monthly revenue growth of the Select offer is above 50% on average and, to date, its occupancy rate is above 90%.

Anyplace partners with real estate developers such as Greystar and AvalonBay to rent units, furnish them, and then rent them out at a higher price with its selected offer. Each apartment has a “fully equipped office configuration” and comes with a flexible term contract (minimum 30 days). They include a height-adjustable standing desk, ergonomic chair, 34-inch “ultra-wide” monitor, professional microphone, webcam, foldable green screen, laptop stand, docking station and lamp. key, among others.

“Each Select apartment offers the same or greater level of productivity than a home office,” Naito said. “Wi-Fi speed will never be an issue either, as all units have gigabit internet access.”

Why wouldn’t a remote worker who wants to try living in another city just rent a place on Airbnb? The ability to have a house or apartment set up for remote working isn’t as easy to come by as one might think, says Naito — some deals may have slow Wi-Fi while others may failing to provide an adequate office or dedicated workspace.

“Most of the current accommodations are optimized for pre-pandemic stays. People were really working all day from their bedrooms while staying in hotels or on Airbnb,” Naito said. “However, in the post-pandemic world, people are spending more time making Zoom calls and working from their bedrooms. We therefore create accommodations optimized for the post-pandemic world. »

Indeed, Airbnb has historically focused on short-term rentals, but now the hospitality giant is seeing an increase in longer-term rentals in its market – proof that there is increased demand for longer-term rentals. long term. last May, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told Yahoo Finance that 24% of Airbnb stays were 28 days or more – compared to 14% two years earlier. Further proof of its belief in the trend, Airbnb has also recently backed another startup in the space, Living Zeuswhich began by focusing on offering flexible options for business travelers, but is now expanding to a wider pool of potential customers.

While Anyplace had just moved from operating a marketplace, it is now changing its broader business focus to become an operator with its new Select offering.

“So Airbnb is not our competitor, but a partner and actually one of our biggest acquisition channels,” Naito told TechCrunch. “I don’t think Airbnb will enter the carrier space, with their own inventory. Their strength is in the platform business.

To “aggressively” expand its inventory into other markets and continue to improve its functionality, Anyplace today announces that it has raised $5.3 million in a Series A funding led by GA Technologies, with the participation of J.ason Calacanis, Launch Fund, Japanese soccer star and co-founder of Dreamers Ventures (with Will Smith) Keisuke Honda, co-founder of Mercari Hiroshi Tomishima and East Ventures. The round brings Anyplace’s total raised to $8 million and will also help increase its current staff of 17 people.

The startup has already started raising capital for its next round, already receiving “several investment commitments”, according to Naito, due to the “rapid growth of the company and the strong increase in demand for the type of ‘accommodation offered by Anyplace Select’. More specifically, the startup seeks to grow to major cities in the United States, especially to popular vacation destinations such as Hawaii, Miami, Austin and Denver, Naito said.

“People no longer need to quit their full-time jobs to become digital nomads. Before the pandemic, people had to leave their businesses and become self-employed or small business owners in order to live a nomadic lifestyle,” Naito told TechCrunch. “But now tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter are allowing their employees to work remotely full-time… The pandemic has created many new types of nomads. So this is a major paradigm shift in the way people work.

Over email, Keisuke Honda told TechCrunch he could “feel” Naito’s “grit” when he first met him.

“He raised capital from well-known American investors like Jason Calacanis and he told me how he did it. It wasn’t easy and he struggled. He overcame language and various other hurdles he faced. immigrant founders face,” Honda said. “I believe that courage is one of the most important things to be successful in a startup, plus I was impressed that he built the product he wanted and that he lives and works himself.

Honda added that as a football player he has traveled to many countries and stayed in “many hotels and Airbnb rentals”.

“I’ve never seen hosting like Anyplace Select with a fully-featured desktop environment,” he told TechCrunch. “Obviously the number of people working from home has increased and they don’t want to just live in one place. Anyplace Select will be the standard accommodation for these people in the post-pandemic world. »

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