Milwaukee corporate homesharing startup expects DNC windfall

Frontdesk gives advice to first-time renters

Fast-growing Milwaukee startup Frontdesk, which rents apartments to corporate travelers, expects it will receive “a financial windfall” for its 22 Milwaukee rentals when the 2020 Democratic National Convention comes to town.

Jesse DePinto

“It’ll be measurable. The only analog we have to it is the NBA All-star Game in Charlotte this year where we saw prices triple or four times what they would normally be,” said Kyle Weatherly, co-founder and chief executive officer of Frontdesk.

And what’s more, Frontdesk also has units for rent in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the 2020 Republic National Convention is to be held.

“We were very lucky to have the first and second city of ours be in the two convention centers,” said co-founder and chief growth officer Jesse DePinto. “The question is really how much of a distraction do we want this to be, but it is a good opportunity.”

DePinto and Weatherly are staying focused on their goal of rapidly expanding their company nationwide, they said. They plan to be in about 15 cities by the end of 2019.

“We’re really focused on expanding in our other cities,” Weatherly said. “Milwaukee was originally 100 percent of our market. Now, it’s 16 percent of our market and we want to continue to minimize it, to be honest. Our business model, we don’t expand just for one special event.”

While Frontdesk doesn’t plan to add more rentals in either market, the co-founders are providing advice in the hopes of helping Milwaukee be successful in the effort.

For one, the co-founders have been giving advice to friends interested in becoming a homesharing renter for the first time during the DNC.

Weatherly’s top tips: post high-quality photos of your apartment, and understand there’s more communication involved than you may think.

“Figure out a price that is worth you not living in your house for five days and if it books at that price, rent it; and if it doesn’t book at that price, don’t do it,” he said.

Fast-growing Milwaukee startup Frontdesk, which rents apartments to corporate travelers, expects it will receive “a financial windfall” for its 22 Milwaukee rentals when the 2020 Democratic National Convention comes to town.

Jesse DePinto

“It’ll be measurable. The only analog we have to it is the NBA All-star Game in Charlotte this year where we saw prices triple or four times what they would normally be,” said Kyle Weatherly, co-founder and chief executive officer of Frontdesk.

And what’s more, Frontdesk also has units for rent in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the 2020 Republic National Convention is to be held.

“We were very lucky to have the first and second city of ours be in the two convention centers,” said co-founder and chief growth officer Jesse DePinto. “The question is really how much of a distraction do we want this to be, but it is a good opportunity.”

DePinto and Weatherly are staying focused on their goal of rapidly expanding their company nationwide, they said. They plan to be in about 15 cities by the end of 2019.

“We’re really focused on expanding in our other cities,” Weatherly said. “Milwaukee was originally 100 percent of our market. Now, it’s 16 percent of our market and we want to continue to minimize it, to be honest. Our business model, we don’t expand just for one special event.”

While Frontdesk doesn’t plan to add more rentals in either market, the co-founders are providing advice in the hopes of helping Milwaukee be successful in the effort.

For one, the co-founders have been giving advice to friends interested in becoming a homesharing renter for the first time during the DNC.

Weatherly’s top tips: post high-quality photos of your apartment, and understand there’s more communication involved than you may think.

“Figure out a price that is worth you not living in your house for five days and if it books at that price, rent it; and if it doesn’t book at that price, don’t do it,” he said.

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