Flat-Club Launches Its 'Trusted Airbnb For University Students' On U.S. Campuses

You might not think there could be a new take on the Airbnb model but Flat-Club thinks it has found one. The startup pitches itself as a sort of LinkedIn for short-term renting - or perhaps Airbnb for Students. Why LinkedIn and Airbnb? Well because - in something of a niche - it helps alumni and students of top universities to find short-term accommodation by leveraging existing social networks to create trust. Today it's launching in 30 U.S. universities with a competition between universities for travel money, gadgets and internships. Universities now using the service include Columbia Business School, INSEAD, King’s College, LSE, IESE, and others. Angel-backed Flat-Club's model is that it takes a 6-15 percent charge but doesn't charge the host. The average stay is almost a month, whereas Airbnb is a few nights. After launching first in London it now has 3,000 apartments in 10 major cities and 30,000 verified users after 22 months of trading. Unusually, hosts on Flat-Club can choose who sees their postings - for instance, only alumni of specific universities. They say this brings more private hosts to post on Flat-Club. They claim research by UCL found that 10 percent of private people will become hosts under the traditional model (Airbnb, Housetrip, 9flats, Wimdu), compared to 20 percent under the Flat-Club model - renting within trusted networks. Anyone - not just students - can join, but to access the university clubs, you have to have a university email address. The startup's idea solves an obvious problem. Universities have obvious pain, since they have issues placing people for short periods. They hate sending people to Craigslist.
Mike Butcher

Mike Butcher is a Writer at Gigabuzz, focused on covering early-stage startups, especially those with a technology focus and great perks.

Next Results

and 5 more articles