Just about anything is available to lease these days. In need of a private plane to jet off to some far-off locale? Countless chartered flight options can be found at the click of a button! Hoping to vacation on a boat? Airbnb has got you covered! Want to live like Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) from “Twilight” or “Stranger Things’” Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) for a night? Their onscreen homes can be booked for temporary stays! And now, even swimming pools are procurable for short-term periods thanks to Swimply, an innovative platform that offers backyards, tennis courts, pools and other outdoor spaces to interested parties for nominal hourly fees. When the company officially launched in 2019, The New Yorker quipped, “Want to swim in a random stranger’s backyard pool, but without getting arrested, shot at, or developing a skin disease? There’s now an app for that.” All joking aside, Swimply certainly found a target audience!
The company is the brainchild of New Jersey denizen Bunim Laskin, who came up with the inventive concept one hot day in 2017 during his college summer break when he noticed that a neighbor’s pool was sitting largely unused. The then 19-year-old approached the owner with a proposition – he’d perform routine maintenance on the pool in exchange for being allowed to swim there regularly with his family. It wasn’t long before more neighbors joined in on the plan and Swimply was born, with wanna-be waders initially connecting with pool owners via a rudimentary website Laskin built using his bar mitzvah money. To secure listings, he explained to The New Yorker, “I went on Google Earth and searched eighty pools nearby. I knocked on eighty doors. I got seventy-six slammed doors. And we started with our first four pools.” That number quickly grew and within a few months, the intrepid teen had dropped out of college to work full-time on the business, eventually launching the Swimply app with business partner Asher Weinberger.
Operating like an Airbnb for pools, The Sydney Morning Herald explains the Swimply process as such, “Hosts set the price, list amenities and outline provisos, such as the number of swimmers allowed and whether there’s access to the house (to use the loo, for example). Swimply takes 15 percent of the rental fee as commission and teams up with pool companies to do inspections for safety and hygiene.”
The pandemic proved a boon to the company’s growth as those sheltering at home in crowded cities sought outdoor spaces that allowed for socially distant recreation. By 2021, according to TechCrunch, the app had garnered $10 million in Series A investments and was “operating in a total of 125 U.S. markets, two markets in Canada and five markets in Australia.”