Australia markets open in 3 hours
  • ALL ORDS

    7,369.40
    -53.80 (-0.72%)
     
  • AUD/USD

    0.6772
    +0.0046 (+0.69%)
     
  • ASX 200

    7,175.50
    -53.90 (-0.75%)
     
  • OIL

    71.51
    -0.50 (-0.69%)
     
  • GOLD

    1,802.00
    +4.00 (+0.22%)
     
  • BTC-AUD

    25,490.94
    +488.02 (+1.95%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    406.78
    +12.09 (+3.06%)
     

Pool-sharing site Swimply dives into Aust

An online marketplace aiming to be the "Airbnb for swimming pools" is diving into the Australian market.

Swimply first dipped its toes into the Australian market in November 2019, a few months before the pandemic, but is now stepping up its game.

There is a local team, a regional headquarters in Sydney and a launch party on Wednesday evening.

"We have a team down there, we hired the original team from Airbnb that actually launched it down there," the startup's 25-year-old founder and chief executive, Bunim Laskin, told AAP in a video chat from Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The platform's local team is headed by former Airbnb country manager Sam McDonagh, who also launched Dollar Shave Club, celebrity video-for-hire app Cameo and eBay domestically.

"He's like the launcher," Mr Laskin said.

"We brought him on, he brought on his team and they've been crushing it.

"We're very excited about Australia, over 1.3 million pools that are one activity for families, but less than two per cent have access.

"We're also very excited that their summer's during our winter, which means we get to really give it our full attention. It's not just an expansion, it's like everybody's invested and everyone's really excited."

There are only about 100 pools listed on Swimply in Australia, compared to 20,000 in the United States.

But the team has a goal of reaching 2000 backyard pools here.

"And it's not just the number of pools, it's where the pools are. Our goal for summer is for Aussie to be able to be within 10 miles of a swim place," Mr Laskin said.

There were 35 inviting-looking pools listed around Sydney on Wednesday, with a few going for just $A30 an hour, although $50 or $60 seemed more typical.

Families make up 70 per cent of all bookings, with children's birthday parties popular.

The oldest of a dozen siblings, Mr Laskin latched onto the idea for Swimply at age 20 while trying to keep his brothers and sisters entertained in New Jersey.

He realised a neighbour's pool was often empty and offered to pay her expenses in exchange for letting them use it. Soon other families had the same arrangement and the owner was making a profit.

He used Google Earth to find 80 homeowners with pools and successfully convinced four to rent them out in exchange for half the proceeds.

"Spent 30 bucks on flyers, put my number around town - 'stay cool, rent a pool' - and it just took off from there, the phone didn't stop ringing."

Mr Laskin said it was very fulfilling to call back customers waiting anxiously and tell them he had found them a pool for rent and to hear their kids celebrate.

"I couldn't imagine working on anything else," he said.

"So I just decided to drop out of school, raise $1.2 million and launch Swimply in 2019 with the vision that I'll bring this everywhere, and do it with everything that brings people happiness."

Simply plans to test rentals of other items such as tennis courts, basketball courts and pickleball courts as an Australian pilot project, he said.