Wander, a new startup that lets users rent smart homes across the country, raised $7 million in funding, the company said Wednesday.
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John Andrew Entwistle, who became an entrepreneur as a teen, founded Wander after an interesting journey. He enrolled in high school online, which allowed him to travel the U.S. and internationally. Earlier this year when he stepped down as CEO of Coder, the startup he previously co-founded, he again wanted to take some time to get away, so he booked a cabin in Colorado.
When Entwistle arrived, he experienced what what most people who have rented Airbnbs or other temporary accommodations have probably had.
“When I got there, it didn’t quite look like the photos,” he said. “The beds were uncomfortable. The internet was broken, safety-wise it was definitely a little bit questionable. Instead of relaxing, I was just flooded with thoughts about what the new world would look like. It was the first time people could live and work anywhere.”
Entwistle set out to build Wander so people could travel and work from unique locations, and have a reliable, consistent experience each time.
Wander owns the smart homes it operates—which all come with a Tesla—and allows users to customize the settings in the home, like the temperature and lights, through the Wander app.
The company rents out homes in California’s Lake Tahoe area and Mendocino County, and Oregon’s Bandon Dunes and Port Orford.
Redpoint, which invested in Entwistle’s last startup, Coder, led the funding round. Part of the reason the firm expressed interest in investing stemmed from its history working with Entwistle, according to Redpoint Managing Director Alex Bard.
“We look for founders who have this unbounded ambition, who want to change the world in some way, and have a ruthless resolve in changing the world but doing so in a high-integrity way over many years,” Bard said.
Bard pointed to how the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trends of remote work.
“I think Wander is really tapping into that and creating the physical infrastructure to truly make that possible, and I think that’s really really exciting,” Bard said.
The funding will be used to expand Wander’s network of homes. The company is initially focused on the western United States–think places like Sedona, Arizona, or Yosemite–but eventually Entwistle wants to expand internationally.
Wander had its first guest stay at one of its properties earlier this month, and users can join the waitlist to book a stay. Users can also become Founding Members for $100, which gives them a $100 credit toward their next stay, and gives them the potential opportunity to participate in Wander’s next funding round, among other perks.
“I simply love the idea of having a cap table filled with thousands and thousands of people who support the mission, and want to see this company turn into something larger,” Entwistle said.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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