A Racine startup that seeks to make short-term rentals a real-life marketplace has now been backed by Milwaukee-based venture capital firm Gateway Capital.

Houstr, which received $300,000 in funding, enables AirBNB, VRBO and boutique hotel owners to place products in front of consumers to create brand awareness and drive sales.

“Travelers need to sleep, eat, work, entertain and do everything they’d do while at home when they’re out of town. These moments are golden opportunities for brands,” said Nick Koenen, the company’s co-founder. “Houstr allows travelers to try out a product, buy it on the spot and have it delivered to their home. Conversely, travelers are able to identify what they don’t like and don’t want to purchase. Ultimately, this creates positive experiences and the opportunity to connect on a deeper level for both the traveler and travel host. We believe that ‘retail in real life’ is the future of the hospitality industry.”

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