Last year FlatClub, a sort of Airbnb for top university students and their alumni,launched across 30 U.S. and UK universities (such as Columbia Business School, INSEAD, King’s College). It’s now raised $1.5million from a network of Angels including Jeremy Coller of Coller Capital, Professor Eli Talmor of London Business School and David Wolfe of BrandJourney and InterCapital.
Flat-Club 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 now has 50,000 verified members (members have to have a university email address), and features properties from alumni of more than 50 of the world’s top universities, including London School of Economics, London Business School, University College London, King’s College and New York University.
Hosts on Flat-Club can choose who see their postings – for instance, only alumni of specific universities – allowing for a more trusted experience. Trust is important when you are renting out an apartment. Research by UCL found that only 10 percent of private people will become hosts under the Airbnb model. FlatClub says it can double this rate to 20%.
The largest club is the London Business School Club with 2,000 members (10% of the entire university community – alumni & students). FlatClub says that last year members of the community made $250K in renting out their place to trusted guests.
The investment will enable FlatClub, which was established by former London Business School graduates Nitzan Yudan and Tomer Kalish, to increase the number of listings from 10,000 to 30,000 rooms and apartments available for short stays within 12 months, launching a new technology platform to further expand its presence across Europe and the USA.