Are you looking for a venue for that next baby shower, work-out class or teaching program? Look no further than Venyooz.
About two months ago, Venyooz officially launched as an online marketplace for rentable spaces in the Los Angeles area. Anyone is able to list a space on the website and can rent a space as well with no initial fee.
Venyooz is a website made for people to find practical spaces for everyday activities, such as play groups, birthday parties, yoga classes, art workshops, etc.
“We work with schools, churches, community centers and types of organizations and businesses that have under-utilized spaces,” said Lauren Shapiro, founder of Venyooz.
The Venyooz name is specific to what the organization believes in.
“People generally think of a ‘venue’ as a physical space for a formal occasion, so we wanted a name that would help us communicate that we help find physical spaces for informal occasions. The name ‘Venyooz’ is casual and playful, and it suits our emphasis on everyday activities and community building,” said Shapiro.
Furthermore, Venyooz strives to alleviate the logistical burden of trying to find a rental space. “We really tried to build a system that makes it easy for all underutilized spaces to be found and utilized for offline activities. It’s important for people to get together offline,” said Shapiro.
Most recently, in October, Venyooz teamed up with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to create an even wider range of services for the public. “We are really excited about our new arrangement with the Santa Monica school district, which opens up a ton of spaces for the community,” said Shapiro.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District currently lists 12 spaces at seven locations, including six schools and the district’s professional development center. “It’s really near and dear to our heart,” said Shapiro, noting how she and Venyooz co-founder Alex Perelman met in high school in Santa Monica.
Perelman expressed excitement about the project, saying, “I think it’s awesome that we get to work on building a company that will help schools and communities.
“It’s certainly extra rewarding to have our first participating district and schools be the ones we were both only recently part of ourselves. We’re proud alums, for sure.”
Shapiro added, “I grew up in Santa Monica and the school system there. We knew that we wanted to work with schools because schools have amazing spaces to use for all sorts of purposes. It made sense to go to the school district that we know.”
Not only is Venyooz a great use for the public, but it also facilitates good use for the schools, she said.
“The schools have an amazing opportunity here to build community, to really invite people into the schools and to help the community support the schools at the same time,” Shapiro said. “It goes to support the kids and the education, while you get to use it for your own purposes as well.”
Ben Allen, president of the district Board of Education, is also a supporter of the collaboration with Venyooz.
“It will hopefully help drive more folks to our facilities,” he said of the program. “This will bring in more revenues and give more of the public the opportunity to take advantage of the wonderful facilities we have in the school district.”
To book a space through Venyooz,
“It’s super easy, you just go to the website, based on location and price. We try to make it as easy as possible so it really alleviates trying to find a space on your own. It makes these places much more accessible to you, places you probably wouldn’t know about otherwise,” Shapiro said.
“My vision is for people to come together. It’s an online service to facilitate offline activities. We really want people to come together and meet face to face and not rely so much on online connections, which are easier but don’t have the same impact as face to face.”