Owning your own private swimming pool is a dream for many. However, it’s an expensive dream. This inspired Bunim Laskin to found Swimply, an online marketplace where users can rent other’s pools by the hour. Think of it as an Airbnb but for swimming pools. He pitched his startup on Shark Tank but was unable to get a deal. As of 2023, Swimply is worth an estimated $30 million.
Bunim Laskin’s Background
Bunim Laskin is a very private person, but it is known that he is from Lakewood, New Jersey. He is the eldest of 12 children, which is why he spent a lot of time looking for ways to entertain and care for his younger siblings as a teen.
One day, he noticed that one of his neighbors didn’t use their swimming pool that often. So, he kindly asked if his family could use it in exchange for paying 25% of the pool maintenance.
The neighbor agreed, and five other families made the same deal with Bunim. He soon realized he could start a scalable business out of this. He was 20 years old at the time and was attending Talmudic College of Florida.
As a young adult, he started Swimply in 2018 and it was considered the first online marketplace for renting private swimming pools. Bunim launched a beta version, which featured only four pools in the New Jersey area.
Later on, he used Google Earth to find homes with pools. He even knocked on their doors to convince the owners to sign up for his marketplace. This strategy signed up the first 100 pools and helped him generate some momentum.
Family and friends gave him $30,000 to officially launch the business in 2019. The entrepreneur raised around $1.2 million in funding after getting over 400 reservations.
Shark Tank Appearance
Despite the massive capital investment he had just bagged, Laskin believed it would be smart to get extra help from angel investors on Shark Tank. In 2020, he appeared on season 11 of the show, offering 5% equity for $300,000.
The fast-talking entrepreneur claimed that Swimply could make $15 million in profit by the end of 2020. However, Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary thought his forecasts were way too excessive. Barbara once again announced she was out because she didn’t understand the business.
Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban liked the business model, as it was similar to Airbnb, but they still also had doubts about projections. Robert Herjavec said the valuation was impossible to achieve, and Laskin was left with no deal.
Success After Shark Tank
Swimply has gone on to become one of the top reject success stories on Shark Tank. Shortly after its episode aired, the pandemic struck the economy. This forced public pools to shut down, but private ones remained open.
The Swimply app has done over 250,000 downloads across Google Play and Apple app stores, averaging a 4.5 star rating based on over 7,000 reviews.
This helped them reach over $1 million in revenue as it was receiving 15,000 to 20,000 reservations per month. This sparked a Series A investment round that raised $40 million in 2021. The round was led by Mayfield and a couple of angel investors, including former Airbnb co-founder, Nate Blecharczyk.
Now, Swimply operates in the US, Australia, and Canada with 76 full-time employees. Swimply makes an estimated $10 million annually, and the company is worth $30 million. Recently, they branched out into new areas. You can now rent a court to play pickleball, basketball and tennis.