Fundraising year nets €1m for platform co-op Fairbnb

The holiday rental co-op says the money will help ‘promote the growth of a social economy that effectively pursues sustainability’

Platform co-op holiday booking platform Fairbnb says it has raised €1m after a 12-month fundraising campaign to speed its development and growth.

It says the move will help to build “the future of community-powered tourism” as it works to provide an ethical, co-operatively owned alternative to holiday platforms like Airbnb.

Supporters of the fundraising drive include Fondo Sviluppo, the mutual fund set up by Italian co-op apex Confcooperative; Coopfond, the mutual fund created thanks to the contribution of more than 2,300 cooperatives belonging to Italian co-op federation Legacoop; and SEFEA Impact, an asset management company set up to spread ethical and impact finance.

Other investors include CFI-Cooperation Finanza Impresa and Leonardo’s Poles.

Fairbnb announced the total at its recent general assembly in Bologna, which brought together 40 members from 10 European countries for three days of debates and workshops.

Fairbnb is a high profile example of the platform co-op model, designed to give workers, producers and clients ownership and control of online work platform, and to counter the exploitive capitalist model which has seen the rise of tech giants like Uber and Deliveroo.

On its website, the platform co-op said: “With this capital and these people, it will be possible to deploy the full potential and promote the growth of a social economy that effectively pursues sustainability: the model of Community Powered Tourism of Fairbnb can represent a social innovation and a systemic change in the economy of the tourism sector, extending its benefits to the entire host communities and avoiding that the added value it brings is extracted by a few economic giants.”

As proof of its ethical, sustainable nature, Fairbnb says it donates half of the revenue from its 15% booking commission to local community projects; is free to join and only accepts registered hosts; pays its tax in full; and “most of the value stays in the community that produce it”.

“Fairbnb’s tourism model is a social innovation not only because most of the value remains on the territory, but also because it is a co-operative and transparent platform,” it adds. “While waiting for European and local institutions to prevail over the lobbying of tourism giants, promotes a self-regulatory mechanism in the tourism short-let sector that aims to create a balance, if not even a positive exchange, between travellers and local communities.”

It is active in several Italian cities and regions, including, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice and Liguria, and is developing partnerships to broaden its operations.