- With remote working at all-time highs and some predictions that major cities will experience large population outflows as a result of the pandemic, interest in flexible rents is increasing.
- Landing, a membership-based company that offers flexible rental, announced today that it has added 11 new markets to its service, bringing the total number of stores to 20.
- The company also announced three C-Suite executives from WeWork, Airbnb, and Oyo executives.
- Founder Bill Smith said the company has seen a boom in customers moving to medium and small towns such as Nashville and Charlotte since the pandemic.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
When Bill Smith Shipt, the grocery delivery service he founded in Birmingham, Alabama, scaled up, he and his family moved to San Francisco. Moving halfway across the country was so stressful that Smith vowed his next deal would make the process easier.
After Smith Shipt sold to Target for $ 550 million in December 2017 and operated the company for just over a year after the acquisition, he started working on the idea of becoming landing.
The company operates furnished apartments in cities across the country that users can rent for flexible periods after paying a membership fee to move to another city on the company's network. The company launched in six markets in 2019: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Nashville and Birmingham, Alabama.
The company's product naturally appeals to "digital nomads" or remote employees who move across the country or around the world and combine professional "office work" with a temporary lifestyle.
Continue reading: The market for short-term rents is consolidating in large cities as demand in rural areas increases. So startups like Sonder use the Shakeout.
It has now doubled the number of cities in which it operates from eight to twenty, and has expanded to include cities like Denver, Atlanta, Seattle and Charlotte. The company has also expanded its C-Suite with employees who previously worked at Oyo, Airbnb and WeWork.
"When building a company, it really pays to invest in great talent early on," Smith told Business Insider. This lesson, which he had learned while leading Shipt, led him to bring the rest of the C-Suite on board.
Great settings to improve business size
The first big employee, now COO Marcus Higgins, came to Landing from the fast growing SoftBank-supported hotel company Oyo, where he led US operations and helped scale business quickly. Higgins joined in December 2019, and in March of this year, CFO Casey Woo, who was recently the global head of strategic finance for flex office company WeWork & # 39; s, and CMO Andrew Speyer, formerly, followed global brand director for Airbnb.
These attitudes will enter the company at a critical point as remote work is firmly in the spotlight and there appears to be an exodus from the country's largest cities. For a particular type of tenant who wants to use their newly removed status to try out a smaller city or a handful of different cities, the product makes more sense than ever.
Smith naturally did not plan a pandemic that made remote work essential for the vast majority of skilled workers, and prompted some companies, such as Facebook, to announce that they would allow workers to stay away indefinitely.
Continue reading: The flexible office space will never be the same. This is how companies like Convene and Industrious get creative to attract remote employees.
Bill Smith himself led the company's $ 15 million starting round in 2019. Earlier this year, the company raised $ 20 million in equity in a round led by former Greycroft chip lenders, which included Maveron and Abstract Ventures. At the same time, the company has taken out a $ 10 million credit facility.
"I thought the transition to a more flexible rental model would take a decade or more," said Smith, noting that the pandemic "accelerated" the openness to flexible rental.
After a "very slow" March and April, Smith said business had picked up significantly in May. Growth focused on second or third tier cities that could attract new remote workers.
"We see very high growth in cities that are moving from New York and San Francisco," Smith said of cities like Nashville, Austin, and Charlotte.
Establishes plans to be in the top 30 to 40 cities in the United States
The company's goal is to change the face of the rental and replace 12-month leases with the ability to move to another landing site in just three days. In a way, the company competes with both medium-term rental startups and coliving companies, but has some significant differences from both.
The company rents traditional homes and differs from coliving companies that offer membership-style living with shared common spaces. They only allow booking through their own website and do not use other portals like Airbnb, which is in contrast to most short-term rental companies out there.
The company signs traditional leases for space as well as partnerships with landlords who act almost like a property manager.
Regarding the cities they focus on, Smith said the company is looking for cities with strong housing and population growth. The company's goal is to have apartments in all major cities where its customers want to move.
"We will be in all of the top 30 to 40 cities in the United States at some point," said Smith.