Founders Truth Oladapo ’09SEAS and Isabel Berney, a Boston University graduate of ’09, stumbled upon the idea for Vacayo as roommates in NYC seeking to fund their health-tech startup. Truth planned to buy an investment property for passive come and rent it the “traditional” way when he discovered a better (and cheaper) alternative: Airbnbing their spare bedroom. Isabel agreed to try it, and results so surpassed their expectations that it was clear they’d found a unique business model that many landlords could benefit from.
As Truth and Isabel set out to grow Vacayo, they discovered that like them, landlords were reluctant to enter the vacation rental market due to a combination of limited money, time constraints, and a fear of unstable income. A landlord’s worst nightmare was to furnish a home and then fail to attract guests. Vacayo bridged this gap by providing higher fixed-monthly income, furniture, and a dedicated management team.
Since completing the 500 Startups accelerator last summer and Y Combinator startup program, Vacayo has expanded to 6 cities (New York, Miami, San Diego, Mountain View, Philadelphia and D. C.) serving over 70 landlords. To maintain a quality service, they’ve partnered with Airbnb “Superhosts,” who serve as dedicated local managers. They recently launched their “Rent Guarantee Offer,” which allows landlords to plug in their address and receive a leasing offer within seconds. Their goal is to continue helping landlords transform their underperforming rentals into generous passive income streams.
For Truth and Isabel, as it turns out, the best investment was their #sidehustle.