Why has WeFindFlats chosen to fight over "flight mode" in 2020 perpetually?
Reason 1: We focused on our circle of influence
Whilst every industry, business and individual has been impacted by the pandemic in different ways; I think it’s safe to say that the hospitality industry was hit especially hard.
Building a start-up that requires people moving locations may sound like an unnecessary challenge to have had this year. But we did it nonetheless. Admittedly, there were some limitations, but they didn’t impact our effort and creativity or stopped us from focusing on what we could control.
Let’s look at specifics: Unsurprisingly most stays abroad were cancelled or on hold, which drastically reduced the number of users on our platform overnight. But instead of worrying about something we couldn’t control, we focused on building long-term partnerships with universities, including WHU, Hult, HEC, and accommodation partners, such as Cityrooms, Londonshared and Londonnest. We also used our newly available energy and time to develop a kick-ass product which we will launch at the end of January 2021. I can confidently say that we are in an excellent position to tackle the new year.
Reason 2: We are on a mission – no pandemic can stop us
Let’s face it, finding a decent accommodation in your own town is already hard enough. Finding an acceptable accommodation abroad and for just a few weeks or months is a painful process involving loads of organisation and admin that swallows up a tremendous amount of time and energy. We have faced with this ourselves, we made terrible mistakes, which even impacted our careers.
For instance, I rejected a job offer in San Francisco because I was overwhelmed (or actually underwhelmed) by the housing situation. Instead, I moved to London but learned quickly that London's housing isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Because I wasn’t able to quickly figure out my housing situation, I even ended up postponing my internship's start date.
Going through all these difficulties myself is just one part of our business story. A group of us have known each other for a little while, meeting as colleagues or customers at Benivo (formerly FlatClub). At Benivo we helped countless students and professionals with their relocation journey. Housing was definitely one of the biggest challenges that stood between starting a new life and job abroad. Back then, we couldn’t figure out how to solve it on a bigger scale, but we made some invaluable discoveries and learnt a lot. Combining this knowledge, experience and a creative new approach, we believe (and have proven) that we can make this process less stressful and less time consuming and instead offer customers a smooth experience. Our goal is for any person being able to pursue their dream career anywhere in the world without housing worries, becoming an obstacle.
Reason 3: Backed by a strong support system
Starting a business meant figuring things out as they present themselves, such as writing a letter of intent? How to create a compelling pitch deck? What constitutes effective user testing? The list goes on, and it can get daunting easily. Finding answers and making decisions with a high level of uncertainty means you have to heavily engage the right side of your brain, something that can get very exhausting. The best thing to happen is being surrounded by people with expertise in different areas, or have gone through it already, or are eager and willing to figure it out with you.
With all the support I’ve received this year, I consider myself extremely fortunate and want to thank you. Starting and growing business is not a one (wo)man show – it was only made possible with your support.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds and what we can achieve together in 2021!