Having launched in Australia this time last year, pool-sharing startup Swimply is gearing up for expansion Down Under.
This follows a bumper summer of 4000% growth in the US, despite — or perhaps because of — the COVID-19 pandemic.
Billing itself as the ‘Airbnb for swimming pools’, Swimply allows users to rent their neighbours’ pools, for anywhere between $15 and $100 per hour.
Pool owners, on the other hand, are able to make some cash from their backyards when they’re not using them. By all accounts, keeping a pool maintained doesn’t come cheap.
The startup, headed up by 23-year-old founder and chief Bunim Laskin, launched in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland in November last year.
Now, it has some 400 pools and 50,000 users onboarded Down Under.
But, as Australia approaches the hot summer months, and as COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax, Laskin is aiming to triple those numbers with a national expansion.
During the pandemic, the startup has seen monumental growth in its home country of the US.
Speaking to SmartCompany, Laskin puts that down to the pandemic, and the restrictions on travel and the closure of public gyms and pools.
“People were looking to safely socialise, relax and work out,” he says.
Not only does Swimply give people access to a private pool, but it also allows them to avoid travelling to the beach, and facing up to the crowds there, to cool off.
“We predict that Australia will follow the same trend.”
And, while going onto other people’s property might not feel like the most COVIDSafe course of action, the founder maintains that sharing a pool doesn’t come with extreme risks.
The startup has amended its booking system, allowing at least an hour between one guest departing and the next arriving, giving the hosts time to clean the area thoroughly. Owners are also advised only to admit the number of guests that adheres to social distancing regulations.
Laskin points out that in all Australian states, public pools were some of the first facilities to reopen following COVID-19 lockdowns.
“According to the WHO, swimming in a well-maintained, properly chlorinated pool is safe,” he adds, “as long as social distancing rules are respected”.
Now, Australia is a ripe market for growth. Australia has more than 2.7 million homes with private pools, Laskin notes.
He also points to the nation’s “long summers and love for swimming”.
And, the founder hints at another “exciting launch” in the pipeline within the next six to 12 months, that he says will “make summer even more fun”.
But, with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, Laskin suggests pool owners may welcome a little extra income, and city dwellers may appreciate a bit of R&R, without having to travel.
“Thanks to the rise of the sharing economy over the last decade, with Airbnb and Uber as pioneers, we can now borrow almost anything — from space and parking to yachts and pools,” Laskin says.
“Swimply aims to democratise private pools and allows everyone to dip their toe in luxury.”