GuestToGuest nabs cash from peer-to-peer insurance specialist
France-based home exchange business GuestToGuest has raised €4 million ($4.5 million) and wants to have a million members within three years.
French insurance firm MAIF has made the investment.
GuestToGuest was set up in 2011 under the typical travel start-up scenario – a bunch of pals who swapped homes informally saw an opportunity to use technology to scale up their interest into a business.
The service is free to home owners and guests and is based on a system of guest points. It uses a social network to connect people interested in offering their home. No money is exchanged between home owner and guest.
There are two main revenue streams for GuestToGuest. It acts as a deposit broker and takes a commission of 3.5% on whatever deposit is agreed between the home owner and guest. It also charges €25 to “verify” members.
GuestToGuest is free to join and currently has around 120,000 members in 187 countries. Three in four of its members have paid for the verification service.
Signing up with MAIF adds insurance commissions as another revenue stream. MAIF is big in France – turnover of €3 billion in 2013 – but earlier this year it set up a unit dedicated to the squaring the circle between the emerging collaborative economy and the insurance industry.
Insurance is often cited as a potential headwind for the peer-to-peer sector, as evidenced by various run-ins Uber and Airbnb have had over liability issues.
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