Los Angeles Business Journal

LoveRoom, Airbnb for 'Attractive People,' Goes Live

By Tom Dotan Monday, November 18, 2013
LoveRoom founders Josh Bocanegra and Jeanine Fuentes.

LoveRoom founders Josh Bocanegra and Jeanine Fuentes.

A few weeks ago, a new lodging/dating service announced itself to the online world.

"LoveRoom" was pitched as "The Airbnb for Attractive People" and came from the mind of 23-year-old Hollywood entrepreneur Josh Bocanegra.

At the time, the company wasn't much more than a steamy landing page featuring "Smallville" actress Kristin Kreuk and self-explanatory tagline, but it was enough to launch a flurry of posts from the tech blogs.

Betabeat summed up the site's aim as "No Uglies," Mashable predicted it was "sure to spark a lot of hate," and Forbes more or less declared LoveRoom to be a lot of nothing.

Forbes was wrong. LoveRoom went live Nov. 15. It's now in beta and is accepting signups for a service that Bocanegra said, in retrospect, probably isn't best described as "Airbnb for attractive people."

"Imagine if you can go anywhere in the world and stay with someone with a similar interest," said Bocanegra, who came up with the idea in October. "It would be cool to meet a woman in Paris who has the similar interests, such as religious views, or had the same personality and you can share a room and get to know her."

People can fill out profiles with basic traits: age, sexuality, ethnicity, gender of preferred partner and whether they're seeking a room or sharing one.

Unlike Airbnb, the site doesn't have hosts list a specific price for their rooms, but users can message prospective hosts/boarders directly through the site and work out those details.

The company, which at the moment employs only Bocanegra and his girlfriend, is an outgrowth of an earlier site he developed - a dating site called InterestMi. He's already a serial entrepreneur, having built Beats4Real, which leases out hip hop beats, at 16.

But something like LoveRoom is a lot closer to his dream concept for a company.

"We've been wanting to work on a service to connect people," Bocanegra said, "This is what came out of months and months of market research."

As the site continues to accept a flurry of new members, he's speaking with local investors. Los Angeles happens to be the home base of a number of dating services, including Santa Monica's eHarmony and Hollywood's darling hookup app, Tinder.

Up next is a LoveRoom app, which Bocanegra hopes will be released before Valentine's Day. Although he's a self-taught programmer and built the site himself, that task might require him to hire some outside talent.

As he takes the service from firebrand topic into what he believes will be a long-lasting business, LoveRoom will be backing off the "attractive people" tag. Which he said was misinterpreted anyway.

"When we say it's for people who are attractive we're saying, 'hey if you're single and want to stay with someone of the opposite sex, they're probably going to be attractive to you,'" Bocanegra said.

As for the criticism he got from the tech blogs of recent, he adds: "Hey bad press is better than no press."