Startup Stay lets you connect with entrepreneurs overseas and stay in their homes for free
July 4, 2012 by Terence LEE
Stayovers are a great way of getting to know a person, since homes and their artifacts tell stories about the owners. Airbnb has made an industry out of this by popularizing peer-to-peer short term rentals. And they’re succeeding.
Putting a fascinating twist on online rental marketplaces is StartupStay.com, an invite-only website that lets entrepreneurs connect with one another and stay in each other’s homes for a few days. Unlike Airbnb though, no monetary transactions are involved.
Entrepreneurs are motivated by a multiplicity of things, and Startup Stay meets a number of them.
Since accommodation is free, users enjoy cost savings when they travel to another country. Members can pick who they want to network with since both the guest and host must mutually agree to the stayover.
These informal arrangements provide opportunities to learn relevant information and skills, build relationships, or gain invaluable contacts from one another. The profile feature facilities this, letting members suss each other out.
There’s more than one way to use the site. If homestays are not their thing, travelers can post their itineraries on the site and wait for invitations from people who’d like to meet them.
The startup was born after Fred Caballero and Facundo Villaveiran, who had co-founded Dublin-based web agency ChannelShip in 2008, discovered messages in enterprise social network Yammer from entrepreneurs in Latvia seeking members to host them in London, which happens to be where Startup Stay is now based in.
Entering beta in May 2012, Startup Stay currently lists entrepreneurs from 130 cities in 40 countries.
Fred and Facundo are seeking partnerships with co-working spaces and accelerators around the world. They plan to explore some kind of partnership or sponsorship fee model in the future which would allow users to seek out members in the same network in destination cities. They plan to seek funding and a CTO soon.
Fred emphasized that the website is primarily a networking platform rather than an e-commerce one. They plan to keep it that way.
“If you were to allow them to charge each other for hosting, for example, the networking magic would always be interfered by ‘how much I paid this host entrepreneur or the other’,” said Fred.
As the site gains traction, they will explore a freemium model that charges users for more features and access to more search results in each city.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE