The gay travel platform misterb&b has just surpassed $800K with the help of 1240+ investors, easily bypassing its minimum target last month, with its $1M Wefunder campaign target goal in site. Last year the 500 Startups alum celebrated an $8.5M Series A round, raising $13.5M USD to date from institutional investors like Project A and Ventech. In addition, misterb&b was the first gay app selected “App of the day” on the Apple Store in June 2018.
“For this round, we believed an equity crowdfunding campaign made so much sense: in a sharing economy company, the community contributes immensely to the creation of value. It felt right to offer them the possibility to financially benefit from our successes as a company and give back to a community that’s been historically economically marginalized,” noted misterb&b CEO Matthieu Jost on an active Wefunder blog. “You should note that many of our current investors have decided to follow up on their initial investment through this WeFunder campaign, and that includes members of our Board of Directors.”
Founded by CEO Matthieu Jost and François de Landes de Saint Palais, misterb&b aims to empower the gay community to travel more safely, feel welcome and more easily secure local insider tips about global destinations. The San Francisco-based platform’s driving mission is to ensure all LGBTQ travelers and hosts can connect in real life and feel welcome everywhere. The “world’s largest gay travel lodging platform” counts more than 310,000 hosts across 135 countries offering short-term rentals. According to the campaign, the total addressable market for online accommodation Market in LGBTQ community is $16 billion USD. LGBTQ travelers are the most active segment in the travel space – 80% of U.S. LGBTQ folks have a passport compared to 40% of the general population.
To recap, funding raised will be used to expand mister&b’s offerings of LGBTQ-friendly hotels, particularly in areas where it currently has few short-term rentals. Funds will also be used to broadly market this new offering and grow mister&b’s revenues. A small part of the funding will set aside for technology and API connections.
By adding LGBTQ-friendly hotel rooms to its inventory, France-based misterb&b aims to stay true to its mission and unique value proposition, by helping LGBTQ travelers to connect by knowing if other misterb&b guests will stay at the same hotel, allowing them to get in touch if their dates coincide and to travel safely. Founded in 2013 after the CEO and his partner were rejected by a host because they are gay, Misterb&b’s team selects LGBTQ-friendly hotels and that the community will leave exclusive reviews from LGBTQ travelers.
“First of all, as gay entrepreneurs we have our community’s interests at heart. We’ve been fighting for 5 years now to help make this world more welcoming for LGBTQ travelers. We plan to continue this fight for many years by growing the company, continuing to educate the VC and Tech worlds about some of the issues LGBTQ people face, reaching out to mainstream media, supporting LGBTQ organizations like OutRight Action International, mentoring other LGBTQ businesses like Rainbold Society,” responded CEO Matthieu Jost to a potential Wefunder investor.
Is the raise only targeting the LGBTQ community?
“Our efforts to raise money have never been exclusive to the LGBTQ community. We have raised more than 13M$ to date from business angels, family offices, small VCs and major institutional investors (Project A in Berlin, Ventech in Paris). It’s a long list of investors,” added Jost. “Some of them might be gay but the vast majority are just professional investors who invested in a team, a project, a business, based on financials, business plans and solid data. As investors, they have rights and we have obligations to them and to the company. One of them is to make this company profitable. We plan to arrive at breakeven in the next 24 months, once the biggest investments in the backoffice are behind us.”
For more misterb&b Wefunder Convertible Note campaign details and financial information, please click here. The campaign closes at the end of April.
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