US: Oakland-based treehouse design and construction company, O2 Treehouse, has announced the launch of an equity crowdfunding campaign for its latest venture, Treewalkers, on the StartEngine platform as it expands further into the hospitality space.

As an extension of the company’s mission to create “inspired architectural forms” that bring people together in unique natural settings, founder Dustin Feider and the O2T team of builders, designers, and engineers came up with the idea for Treewalkers, a worldwide network of franchise-based rentable treehouses. The Treewalkers franchise will enable investors to provide treehouses for rent, from a single unit to an entire treehouse village.

The franchise-based treehouse hospitality brand says it will lend homeowners a way to launch into the home-sharing market with low risk and a high ROI [return on investment], as well as providing travellers with an accessible network of eco-experiences.

Feider said: “Our state-of-the-art technology and modular design offer investors a low-risk opportunity with a great return on investment. We provide everything for the nature host to have beautiful glamping treehouses, designed for the modern ecotourist.”

After building his first geodesic structure 50 feet up a poplar tree in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, more than 15 years ago, Feider realised that harmoniously melding architectural forms with trees would allow for a stronger connection between humans and nature. Having earned attention for more than 85 custom-designed structures, O2T has become a recognised brand internationally, and with Treewalkers, the company plans to vastly expand its offering.

The ecotourism industry and local host rental companies such as Airbnb have seen explosive growth in recent years.

According to Feider, Treewalkers fits into both categories: “We offer the ideal product both for potential franchisees looking for a unique opportunity to invest, and for consumers looking for a chance to get away from their fast-paced, concrete-filled life, and enter a more tranquil and beautiful world.”

O2 Treehouse is a company of builders, designers, and engineers dedicated to creating innovative architectural structures in trees all over the world.

Combining modern engineering with old-school craftsmanship, O2T said it had devised an efficient, modular system that makes building treehouses affordable.

The company, which has built more than 85 “intoxicating, custom-built” treehouses over the last 17 years, aims to bring people back to nature in unique ways, and with the team’s years of expertise in eco experiences, it believes it is well placed to capitalise on a growing niche market as it launches Treewalkers.

Ellie Paget, CEO at property management company HomeSlice Stays and short stay hospitality advisor for Treewalkers, said: “Now more than ever, it’s time for people to connect with their roots and Treewalkers provides this experience and liberation for the vacation rental industry.”

O2T launched its crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday 22 September to raise capital, allowing it to jump-start the production and implementation of its Treewalkers programme. The company is now seeking partners for the first 15 Treewalkers locations and in the first phase of its business model, it will waive all additional fees and utilise Airbnb as the main booking platform.

Looking ahead, O2T is on the lookout for two to three locations on the west coast of the United States to begin building treehouses in January 2021 and by 2022, it is aiming to have installed at least ten to 20 more Treewalkers locations and got its online booking platform up and running.

At the time of writing, O2 Treehouse has raised more than $51,000 from 106 investors on a $9.5 million valuation through StartEngine for the Treewalkers brand.

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