There’s a new app in the short-term rental marketplace and it arrived in San Francisco this week. What could possibly go wrong? According to this story, and this one, and this one, absolutely nothing! It’s just 100 percent awesomeness.
Overnight is apparently the Airbnb for people who don’t like to plan — the kind who just show up somewhere with a duffel bag ready to party. Once you’re on the ground in a neighborhood you like in Los Angeles, Coachella Valley, Austin, and now San Francisco, you can call up the app and ask hosts to take you in on the spot. Unlike Airbnb and others, there are no reservations and everything is done on the fly.
In February, the company secured $2.5 million in seed funding, which means plenty of folks think this one’s a winner. To be fair, TechCrunch did point out several potential hiccups with the new service.
As co-founder and CEO Asher Hunt told the blog, the company is merely “encouraging” users to follow their local housing laws. And whether or not hosts abide by the rules, TechCrunch also posited that because there is no instant-booking option a la Airbnb, hosts could potentially discriminate against anyone based on anything — race, gender, sexual orientation, facial hair, age, etc. These are certainly valid concerns.
Overnight is currently tracking some 300 requests a night in L.A., meaning it’s not yet poised to destroy the housing market anywhere, but let’s give it some time. Airbnb’s beginnings were modest, but now it’s growing faster than the entire hotel industry. And even though San Francisco is the testing ground for every techie’s capitalist dream, it’s also the place where strict enforcement laws were created for short-term rentals (hahahaha).
It’s not exactly encouraging that Overnight is merely encouraging hosts to follow the rules. It’s like the person who asks for a water cup at a restaurant only to go to the soda fountain and fill it with free Dr. Pepper.
Time will tell if Overnight becomes another nemesis in San Francisco’s housing war, but for now it’s just another well-funded venture looking to capitalize in the capital of the on-demand economy. Stay tuned for the protests.