Swimply founder Bunim Laskin went in front of the Sharks on Shark Tank to see if he could get one of them to invest in his swimming pool sharing company. The episode originally aired on Friday, March 13, 2020.
Swimply is an online marketplace for pool sharing. The platform works to connect people who own private pools with people who would like to use one. The connection works both ways in that the owner earns a passive income to let others use their pools, and the users are able to get their hands on a private pool when they want to go for a swim.
Laskin pitched his business to sharks Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec.
Here’s what you should know about Swimply:
1. It’s a Community-Driven Platform
The way Swimply works is much like that of Airbnb but for swimming pools instead of apartments, rooms or houses. Laskin told Heavy that the more people join the platform, the more value they can provide to customers.
“The more pools, the more options for families. The more families, the more earnings for pool owners,” he said. “From the moment I started Swimply, I knew I wanted to bring this amazing solution to as many people as possible and Shark Tank was an amazing way to do that.”
The prices to rent out the pools range based on location, amenities, views and other factors. Out of three featured pools on the Swimply website at the time of writing, two of them can be rented for $75 an hour while the other was a pricey $275 an hour. The pools were in New Mexico, Florida and California. The pools are listed as either Family Friendly or Party Friendly.
2. Laskin Started The Company When he Was 20 Years Old
Because Laskin was only 20 years old when he started Swimply, he told us that he has been continuously surprised by everything that has happened with the business so far. According to Times of Israel, Laskin grew up in Israel until he was 15 years old.
He started the company at 20 years old when he was home on summer break and feeling pent up at his parents’ home in New Jersey. He told the website that in Jerusalem, the culture is more outdoorsy, but things aren’t so close in America, especially for a family with 12 children like his.
He said that he asked their neighbor if their family could use her pool, and she said they could. They’d just have to pay her 25 percent of her pool expenses at the end of each month. Then, she made the deal with six other families and ended up turning a profit at the end of each month since she was charging each family 25 percent. Then, Laskin approached other pool owners in his community to see if they would be interested in doing the same.
3. The Company Launched in 2018
On July 4, 2018, Laskin launched the company in the New York tri-state area, with a more user-friendly app coming the following year. He dropped out of his program in order to pursue Swimply first time, much to the chagrin of his parents.
“Once I did decide to launch Swimply, I can’t say my parents were too happy,” he said. “I was studying abroad and my parents were pretty keen on me graduating so when I told them I was dropping out combined with the lack of heads up and the idea for the business I was going to pursue… Well, you can imagine how that went.”
Now, Swimply is focused within that tri-state area along with Miami Beach, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston. They make sure to thoroughly vet each pool and owner, contacting pool maintenance businesses to perform inspections and looking at pictures of the pools as well as conducting video calls with the owners to ensure everything checks out.
They also launched in Australia in 2019.
4. Swimply’s Mission is to Make Awesome Places “the new ‘cafe'”
According to the company website, their mission is to make awesome places the new “cafe.”
“We want mini-escapes to be as ordinary as visiting a cafe or a good nap,” the website reads. “Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, it should only take a moment from the time you want to be somewhere happier until the time you actually are.”
In order to book a local pool, the customer has to go to the website or app, request a pool and wait for approval. Once the approval comes, then the customer confirms that booking. There’s an icon for when a pool can be booked instantly as well.
At that point, users use the Swimply messaging to communicate with hosts and get all the necessary entrance and exit information along with anything else they may need.
5. They Have Over 2,000 Host Pools
As of September 2019, Swimply had over 2,000 host pools and over 17,000 downloads on the app. The highest-grossing pool, which was located in Brooklyn, grossed around $12,000 in the summer of 2019, while most pools take in much less.
Prices range from $40 an hour to $300 an hour if there are other amenities like a great view, grilling, or a hot tub. Usually the reservations are for groups of 8 or fewer people, but sometimes the pools are booked for large groups for closer to a whole day.
To get new users to try out Swimply, they will be offering people to try out the app for free (up to a $50 value) starting on March 13.
“We know trying out new things can feel wild,” they said. “But with every new experience and tool in our lives, our world becomes a little bit bigger.”
Tune in to Shark Tank on Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC to see if Swimply scores a deal.