Spencer Rascoff wants to democratize second homes

Startup Pacaso debuts with $17M Series A

Spencer Rascoff of Pacaso (Getty; Unsplash)
Spencer Rascoff of Pacaso (Getty; Unsplash)

Who says second homes are only for the 1 percent?

A group of ex-Zillow executives, including former CEO Spencer Rascoff, has just launched Pacaso, a startup looking to redefine the fusty timeshare. The marketplace will allow buyers to
purchase from one-eighth to one-half of a vacation home. Its network of agents and suite of tech tools help owners manage the process.

“The mission of Pacaso is to democratize second-home ownership,” Rascoff said in a statement.

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Based in San Francisco, Pacaso is launching with $17 million in Series A funding led by Maveron, with participation from Crosscut and Global Founders Capital. It also has backing from prominent business executives including former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of consumer worldwide; Greg Schwartz, former Zillow president of media and marketplaces; and real estate coach Tom Ferry.

In addition to Rascoff, Pacaso’s founding team includes several other Zillow alums. Pacaso CEO Austin Allison previously founded dotloop, an e-signature startup that Zillow acquired in 2015. Other Zillow alums include chief marketing officer Whitney Curry, chief revenue officer Andreas Madsen and chief technology officer Daivak Shah. Chief product officer Doug Anderson comes from Hotwire and Concur.

In a statement, Allison said the notion of co-ownership has been around for decades but the process was clunky. “Pacaso is the easy button for co-ownership,” he said.

Buyers interested in a second home can tell Pacaso what they are looking for, and the company will help them find a property and set up an LLC designed for co-ownership. Pacaso will briefly purchase a portion of the house before selling the stake to vetted buyers.

Pacaso has lined up $250 million in debt to buy homes, putting it in a position to “scale incredibly rapidly,” said Rascoff.

Pacaso is currently targeting 25 markets in 10 states, the company said.

Rascoff, chairman of Pacaso, co-founded Zillow in 2005, after selling Hotwire to Expedia.
Since stepping down as Zillow’s CEO in February 2019, Rascoff has thrown himself into a second act as a tech investor.

Earlier this year, he launched dot.LA, a news site for Southern California tech. Soon after, he resigned from Zillow’s board to focus on angel investing. He has since backed an array of early-stage proptech startups, including PocketList, a rental listings platform, and La Haus, a Latin American listings site.

Last week, Rascoff announced plans to form a blank-check company. The special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) will look to invest in a tech unicorn valued between $1 billion and $5 billion and take it public.