If you like to travel you've probably heard of Airbnb, even if you've never used it. That lodgings marketplace enables users to rent out their homes to others. But what if you just wanted to swap apartments with someone who lived in a city you wanted to visit? To solve that problem a startup called MyTwinPlace has built a marketplace for housing swaps. MyTwinPlace is trying to connect users who want close to free accommodations in cities they plan to travel to. But to do so, users need to also make their homes available to others. Even so, finding dates times and cities that match up isn't always possible, which is why MyTwinPlace has come up with a few interesting ways to get around those problems. Operating a marketplace is notoriously difficult, just in terms of making sure that there's both enough supply and demand available to make it worth everyone's time. On the supply side, MyTwinPlace hopes to capitalize on the prevalence of existing marketplaces to help boost the number of listings available. New users can register their homes and with one click import information that they've entered on existing lodgings marketplaces, including the likes of Airbnb, Homeaway, Wimdu, 9flats, and others. By doing so, they can determine the general value of the place available. It also seeks to solve the problem of connecting users to stay in each other's place at the same time, by launching a sort of credit system. That is, to use MyTwinPlace you don't necessarily have to swap with someone at the same time and visit one another's cities. Instead, you can make your place available and receive credit for letting someone stay there while you're away. That credit can be applied to renting other listings on MyTwinPlace. Homes are free to list, with MyTwinPlace taking €9.99 (or about $11.50 U.S.) per night during each stay booked. Already, MyTwinPlace has about 20,000 listings, but it's hoping to sign up more. Each booking includes travel insurance for both host and guest. The company was founded in Barcelona in 2013 by Jean Noel Saunier and Xavier Laballós, both of whom loved to travel and explore new places. After working in the digital media world together at streaming video platform Flumotion, they decided they wanted to do something with more of a consumer focus.
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