Wanna travel cheap? Borrow someone’s house

Home-swapping platform Kindred just raised $15m to expand. It lets members vacation in each other’s houses.

Instead of scouring travel sites for the best hotel deals, what if you just switched houses for a few days?

house swap

That’s the idea behind Kindred, a members-only home-swapping platform co-founded by Justine Palefsky and Tasneem Amina in 2021.

It’s currently available in North America with 2k+ homes in 50+ cities, but just raised $15m to expand, per TechCrunch.

How it works

Members — who may be homeowners or renters — are both hosts and guests in a “give and get” model. For every night they host, they earn a night in another member’s home.

They just pay a service fee (up to $30/night) and a cleaning fee per stay, saving potentially hundreds in hotel costs; frequent users can pay a $600 annual fee for unlimited stays and no service fees.

In addition to vetting members, Kindred adds a lot of personal touches, including complimentary hosting kits, professional photography, and cleaning.

It’s not a brand new model

HomeExchange, which charges a $175 annual fee, has been around since the ‘90s and boasts a massive network of 450k+ homes worldwide.

Others have a niche.

  • Thirdhome is for luxury stays; it claims the average home value is $2.4m.
  • TrustedHousesitters matches animal lovers who care for each other’s pets in exchange for a free stay.

They all differ greatly from Airbnb and Vrbo because those really aren’t home-sharing platforms — they’re for making money, which could be why they’re now saturated with property management companies.

Fun fact: One Kindred member once composed a song using sounds of the house — cupboard doors, microwave buttons — for their host. It’s called “Chilling on Goss Lake.”

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