This article was published on July 23, 2012

StartupStay offers entrepreneurs a free system of accommodation and networking

StartupStay offers entrepreneurs a free system of accommodation and networking
Jamillah Knowles
Story by

Jamillah Knowles

Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]

Keeping costs down for jet setting entrepreneurs may have become a little easier with the recent launch of StartupStay.

Getting a startup off the ground is expensive. Added to the predictable costs is the need to meet with other businesses and possible investors anywhere in the world.

In an effort to organise like-minds and work out ways for entrepreneurs to stay in free accommodation, Startup Stay provides a kind of Airbnb for businesses.

Similar to Russia’s Apartator [RU], StartupStay means that entrepreneurs can act as hosts as well as finding a place to stay while travelling. Cutting out the cost of a hotel or bed and breakfast can mean that people can stay a little longer to make the connections they need to keep a business ticking over.

The system is currently invite only and based on trust. So, invite the people you know are not dangerous or weird and see if they have a couch or a room to offer to other entrepreneurs.

Though the first benefit may be a place to get your head down at night, the connections between entrepreneurs can also be priceless. Hosts are bound to know more about networking in their home town and this means travellers can get a lot more insight into the places they visit.

Users can choose the level they can offer to visitors, from a room to a couch or just a coffee and a chat. The location of any place is marked loosely until a connection is made where addresses can be swapped.

Travelling for a vacation and jet setting for work can mean quite different requirements when it comes to finding a place to stay. A full profile is encouraged to help visitors choose if they would like to stay and important options like Wi-fi and whether to bring a sleeping bag are also outlined. Users can also opt to add photos of their home for a fuller description.

Trust is also outlined with user reviews. If you live in a palace or a scrappy but serviceable bed sit, your guests can write reviews about their stay which in turn helps to create a fuller profile.

When you’re planning a stay in a particular city, you can add a post mentioning your dates of travel and the type of business you run in order to make connections that are relevant.

Entrepreneurs do not pay to be hosted so, it’s the good will of users that seems to run the network at the moment.

Fred Caballero, co-founder and CEO, said: “Currently, there are no hospitality exchange platforms serving entrepreneurs only. The “Stay with me for free” or “Pay to stay at my place” value propositions are simply not enough for entrepreneurs. People in startups live and breathe a unique lifestyle and attitude. Startup Stay is here to bring this contagious chutzpah into business travelling experiences, sparking new relationships & business opportunities.”

Caballero and fellow founder Villaveiran, had been looking to serve the massively growing startup sector for over a year, bouncing ideas back and forth. Both being avid travellers, finally decided to focus on the entrepreneurial travel vertical.

After joining TechHub at Google Campus in London, the Startup Stay concept finally crystallized: The founders started seeing messages from startups in TechHub Riga, Latvia, searching for members to host them in London and vice versa.

CPO Facundo Villaveiran added: “In less than five weeks, entrepreneurs in more than 200 cities and 60 countries worldwide joined Startup Stay. Members continue inviting more trusted entrepreneurs daily and there is a constant flow of “requests-to-stay” with real-life experiences already happening. In addition, the itinerary feature that lets entrepreneurs announce their trips to locals is triggering interesting networking: Many locals are spontaneously arranging coffee-meetups with incoming entrepreneurs before their arrival. “

If you fancy checking the service out or you have a nice place to share with travelling entrepreneurs, invitations can be requested on site.

➤ StartupStay

Image Credit: Mandiberg

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