Traditional hotels are still around for anybody that doesn't trust the sharing economy yet. Then, there's Airbnb for those who want a more to-the-ground experience when they travel. But what about those jetsetters who struggle to plan ahead and find themselves without a room for the night?
That's where Overnight comes in. The startup, which has $2.3 million in seed funding and bills its rates as 23 percent lower than comparable listings on HotelTonight in the Los Angeles area, is trying to crack open an industry popularized by the much larger Airbnb platform. Prospective lodgers set up profiles and then ping an area for hosts willing to take them in. If all goes well — hosts can perform quick searches on profiles and friends lists to make sure they're not taking in someone they're uncomfortable with — the two parties can be linked up and booked for a night in as little as 45 seconds.
Where Overnight might have the upper hand on its more established competitors, though, is in its private listings. Because all matches are done away from public view, landlords who may live in communities that are less than friendly to Airbnb-like activities could still rent out their homes with authorities being none the wiser.
“I think it’s great that people can control their privacy, as long as they abide by their agreements and local laws," Overnight Cofounder and CEO Asher Hunt told TechCrunch. “We’re invested in the long-term sustainability of home sharing, and though people have seen our privacy aspects as attractive for the reasons you point to, we encourage our hosts to communicate openly with their landlords and again abide by their rental agreements and, of course, local regulations.”
Overnight launched just three months ago, but it's already seen 150 percent growth in listings month to month. All it needs is to bump up the 300 requests per night it's seeing to really gain some traction.