misterb&b, short-term rental marketplace dedicated to the Gay community, has launched a Wefunder campaign to give guests, hosts, and the public the opportunity to invest in the company to help launch expansion to hotels.
Homosexuality is illegal in a third of the world, and in 8 countries, it is punishable by death. In the U.S., hate crime incidents increased by 17% from 2016 to 2017, as reported by the FBI’s yearly “Hate Crime Statistics” report, with 20.6% due to sexual-orientation — the largest increase since 9/11.
Not knowing whether a host will be welcoming makes “traveling while gay” for men, women, and gender non-conforming people around the world dangerous – and potentially life-threatening.
At hotels, global gay travelers have been rejected or forced to book separate rooms. The only solutions available to them are third-party, unverified, user-generated reviews.
misterb&b was created to give its community the freedom to book an entire home or rent a private room at the home of a gay or gay-friendly host, and with many located in gay-friendly neighborhoods.
Now, after verticalizing the short term rental industry, misterb&b wants to build equality into the sharing economy and give back to a community that’s been historically economically marginalized, by providing the misterb&b community with the power of part ownership of the company.
The funds, raised through Wefunder, which reached half a million dollars in just 7 days, will be used to provide gay and gay-friendly hotel rooms on the platform.
This new offering curates gay-friendly and welcoming hotels that have been hand-selected by the company’s editorial team, with high quality, exclusive, and verified reviews from LGBTQ travelers. What’s more, misterb&b travelers will be able to discover and connect with others from the misterb&b community staying at their hotel, and to explore the city together – especially because there’s truly safety in numbers.
Crowdfunding provides a way for all individuals (even non-accredited investors) to participate in investment opportunities and reap the benefits.
Matthieu Jost did not want to go the traditional route of investment for this round because he wanted to extend the opportunity first to the misterb&b community, many of whom may not be accredited investors.
“This is a unique opportunity to own a part of misterb&b and help us create a more welcoming world. We are reaching out to the most passionate people in the community: our hosts and our guests, as well as LGBTQ allies,” said Matthieu Jost, founder of misterb&b. “We want to provide the opportunity to financially benefit from our successes – giving back to a community that’s been historically economically marginalized.”
While the sharing economy for short-term rentals has increased, it has been difficult for gay hosts and travelers to feel secure and welcome. misterb&b is a response to strong demand for collaborative tourism in the booming niche of global gay tourism, a $100B market. The gay market is also a premium segment, traveling twice as much as other travelers.
“The online travel industry is already generating massive business worldwide and innovation keeps on thriving in this sector,” said Jean Bourcereau, managing partner at Ventech, a member of misterb&b’s board of directors. “misterb&b’s early commercial traction and tremendous growth over the past two years have proven the huge value of their differentiated offer for both hosts and guests.”
misterb&b is a graduate of 500 Startups and have raised US$13.5M from institutional investors like Project A and Ventech, and from angels like Joel Simkhai (founder of Grindr, sold for $300M USD). The marketplace has 310,000 hosts in over 135 countries.
“We have a penchant for companies with strong growth and revenue. Not only does misterb&b have both, but they also have a stellar team,” said Christine Tsai from 500 startups
For more information and to invest, interested hosts, guests and allies can visit wefunder.com/misterbandb.