Whether it’s teens throwing a rager while their parents are on vacation or an Airbnber inviting one too many people to what was supposed to be a quiet gathering, spur-of-the-moment parties can sometimes get out of control and result in property being either damaged or stolen. This is not something most people who are away hope to find when they return to their home.
One company that’s looking to help out homeowners and short-term property renters by providing a long-distance monitoring option is startup Party Squasher. Following a rough experience with a renter of her Airbnb listing, company cofounder Amanda Mills knew there had to be a way to keep an eye on her place while not being in close proximity to it.
This is how Party Squasher came to be. After not finding a solid solution offering, she partnered with tech company Bluefox.io, which offers Wi-Fi sensor technology that’s typically used for discovering trending data in retail or real estate. After a few beta tests and modifications, Party Squasher was born. It’s a router-connected black box that helps renters out by monitoring cellphone existence in one area like an apartment or home and sends updates via texts when there are a certain number of people.
PYMNTS spoke with Mills, who shared the inspiration for how the company concept came to be.
It happened after an Airbnb guest destroyed her house in what can be best described as a drug-lab takeover. Upon looking for a solution, she soon found that there wasn’t a system in place to protect hosts.
“The sharing economy typically doesn’t have security guards, keyless entry and surveillance cameras surrounding the property,”Mills said. “An app needed to be built, and hosts like me needed Party Squasher. I’ve learned many lessons from this experience. As a side benefit, it led to a new job for me, but more important, it led to a new product to help other hosts protect themselves in the craziness of the sharing economy.”
While this economy has been wildly successful, there’s a certain level of trust that needs to be maintained between user and lender. While more traditional services like hotels and taxis have a long-established history of establishing trust via various legal regulations, the sharing economy is still working out the kinks. By using a combination of a device and app service to help monitor the number of occupants, Party Squasher is changing the game. It’s breaking down the trust barrier while also providing something for short-term rental hosts that wasn’t always available and can’t have a price put on it: peace of mind.
Moving into the future, Party Squasher has its plans for what it will do in the near term.
“We plan on growing our audience with short-term rental companies, property managers and Airbnb hosts,” Mills said.
With its growth plan firmly in place, the overall short-term renting market is likely set to see an influx of more responsible tenants. Long-term, the company is well aware of its technology’s capabilities and has a few ideas of its possibilities; however, Mills is choosing to not disclose major details at this time. She did speak to this with PYMNTS on a minor note.
“We know there are a million things this tech can be used for, and we’re excited to tackle all of them, but I can’t share next steps yet. Having said that, we already have a device for retail called BlueFox Engage, which lets brands engage with their customers.”
Everyday, the eCommerce world grows larger with the internet serving as the world’s tech connecting stage. As the ever-changing sharing economy continues its upward trajectory, it seems likely that the world will see an increase in connected detection offerings like Party Squasher entering the marketplace.