What Really Came Of Swimply From Shark Tank?

In 2018, Bunim Laskin and Asher Weinberger launched Swimply, a company that allows pool owners to rent out their pools to strangers for an hourly rate. Laskin has 11 siblings, and the idea behind Swimply came to him after he asked a neighbor if he and his siblings could use her pool for a fee. The neighbor agreed, and eventually, more families joined the arrangement to use this neighbor's pool. The rest is history. Weinberger eventually joined Laskin in this venture after meeting him at a startup pitch competition.

So, how does Swimply work? Using Swimply's website or app, users must be 21 or older and can book a pool in their area. Prices differ, but the average cost for a pool rental is anywhere from $45-$75 an hour. That said, the hosts decide how much they charge, while Swimply makes a 15% commission from hosts and a 10% commission from users. In its first year, Swimply grew to have 400 pool rentals. Although the company was barely getting started, Laskin (sans Weinberger) appeared in Season 11, Episode 15 of "Shark Tank" in March 2020.

Laskin confidently strolled into the tank and announced he wanted $300,000 for 5% of Swimply. The sharks erupted into laughter when Laskin tore off a curtain during his pitch to reveal a man in swim trunks and a pool float. Laskin started strong, but would this result in a deal?

Swimply's revenue disappointed the Sharks

After Bunim Laskin explained the concept behind Swimply on "Shark Tank," he revealed that he had used his bar mitzvah money to start Swimply and used Google Earth to find the initial pool owners he approached. Moreover, the Sharks were astonished when Laskin disclosed that he was able to raise $960,000 from investors. At one point, Laskin's rapid speaking caused Barbara Corcoran to interrupt him so he could take a breath. Laskin then told the Sharks about Swimply's financial model.

However, Mark Cuban appeared crestfallen when Laskin said that he had made $215,000 in total gross revenue. His net revenue from this total was only $42,000. Lori Greiner told Laskin that she saw the vision for Swimply but could not invest in it, and she was out. On the other hand, Corcoran said, "I mean, I think the whole idea is really nuts. Maybe I'm not listening. You're what we call a fast talker in the business" and promptly said she was out.

Like Greiner, Cuban told Laskin that he understood how Swimply could succeed in theory, but he had doubts. Kevin O'Leary noted to Laskin that he did not believe in Swimply's $6 million evaluation and said he was out. This led Laskin to tell Sharks that Swimply's gross profits by 2022 would be $289 million. Cuban laughed and said he was out. Robert Herjavec questioned these projections and also decided against making a deal.

The COVID-19 pandemic helped Swimply

Although Bunim Laskin walked out of "Shark Tank" with nothing, the company went on to flourish. In a May 2021 interview with TechCrunch, Laskin noted that the COVID-19 lockdown, which occurred around the same time his "Shark Tank" episode aired, was more than good for Swimply — with revenue growing 4,000% in 2020.

He explained, "We were the perfect solution for people when the world was falling on its head. It was the perfect, contact-free, self-serve experience to hang out and be with people you quarantined with." Laskin also stated that Swimply was making "seven digits a month in revenue."

In 2021, Swimply announced $10 million in series A funding. Asher Weinberger explained, "Swimming is the third most popular activity for adults and number one for children, and yet no other company has tackled the aquatic space to make swimming more affordable and accessible ... until now." By 2021, Swimply had pool listings all over the country, as well as in Canada and Australia.

By December of that year, Swimply received an additional $40 million in funding, with one of their investors being Airbnb. Swimply has been featured in several publications, including The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, CNET, and more. While Laskin started Swimply in New Jersey, the company is now based in Los Angeles, California.

Swimply is making pool owners plenty of cash

In August 2022, Thrillist gave Swimply a favorable review, with writer Tiana Attride noting that she enjoyed her experience booking a hot tub with the company. That said, users are not the only ones happy with Swimply. One resident and pool owner Jim Battan told Insider, "I put [the pool] on Swimply, and within two hours, it had three bookings. It has just steamrolled from there, and in the last 21 months in business, I've had almost 9,000 guests come through."

A few months later, Battan told CNBC that renting out his pool on Swimply had made him a whopping $200,000. But Battan made it clear that this wasn't all easy cash, saying that pool maintenance was extremely time-consuming and costly. However, cool pools are not the only rentals that Swimply offers its customers.

In June 2023, Swimply announced that users could now rent pickleball courts and tennis courts. In a press release, Bunim Laskin stated, "Our mission has always been about democratizing access to exclusive spaces and creating positive social impact, and we believe that court rentals are a natural extension of that vision." On Swimply's website, basketball courts and yards are also up for rent.

Swimply has been surrounded by controversy

Swimply may have a lot of fans, but some believe the platform is questionable. Despite providing pool hosts with a $2 million insurance policy, critics say Swimply is risky due to safety concerns for guests. Speaking about these issues, Asher Weinberger told CNN, "Everything is a double-edged sword. The sharing economy has done so much for the world and for people. On the other hand, there is an underbelly of that. There's a dark side of that."

In August 2022, The Desert Sun reported that based on zoning codes, Swimply was illegal in Palm Springs, California. Swimply refuted this claim and kept their pool listings in the city online. In May 2023, the company came under fire when residents complained about noise from Swimply users in a Maryland neighborhood in Montgomery County. Swimply said they were trying to resolve the issue with all parties involved.

At the time of this publication, Swimply is very active on social media and posts daily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Swimply hopes to continue expanding, including offering music studio rentals. As of June 2023, Swimply has 25,000 rental listings on its platform. In 2023, Bunim Laskin was featured on Forbes' 30 Under 30 list in the consumer technology category. Needless to say, it appears that the Sharks on "Shark Tank" may have missed out when they passed on Swimply.