Many of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We've asked each company to answer the same questions and we'll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.
What is your name?
Matthew Chic, U.S. Community Development Flat-Club
What does your company do?
Flat-Club is a short-term accommodations marketplace for alumni and students of top universities and companies. The idea is to connect to people we trust to rent out living spaces or book a place to stay - from one night up to six months.
It’s an ideal solution for exchange, internships, travel, relocation and even business trips. Hosts make extra income, guests have access to short-term duration accommodations and everyone connects with new people from their extended networks.
When were you founded and how big are you?
The company was founded in November 2010 with 5 apartments in London and now we have over 3,000 rooms and apartments in 10 global cities. The team has grown from 2 people to 12 from 10 nationalities based in Google Campus, London.
How do you define the sharing economy?
For us the Sharing Economy is about getting more value out of your resources and discovering resources where you didn’t know you had them. At Flat-Club, our goal is to make living spaces and network resources more valuable for our customers by leveraging trust.
How does your company contribute to the rise of the sharing economy?
Research conducted by University College London found the number of people who post their rooms, apartments and houses under the Flat-Club model is twice as large as those who will list their accommodations on traditional sites.
We believe we can double the peer-to-peer accommodations market with our model, based on leveraging existing, trusted networks, which will bring a lot of growth to the share economy!
How do you build community?
We bring trust online. We are not a new social network. Instead, we look at existing networks where trust already exists and we bring it online.
How does your company reduce consumption and stimulate economic growth?
We stimulate economic growth in a couple ways. First, if you are posting an accommodation on Flat-Club we are helping you monetize your home - one of your largest assets - and we are helping you do it in a safe way by transacting within networks of individuals who you can trust. Second, by bringing a marketplace for short-term accommodations online we are making it easier and cheaper to move between cities to pursue a variety of personal and professional opportunities.
Can you share a recent milestone your company has achieved?
We recently celebrated our 2nd birthday which marked several milestone achievements for the company. We concluded 2012 by launching the Flat-Club platform in 30 Universities in the U.S.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Our most important challenge is maintaining exceptional standards for customer service while growing fast and staying focused.
What is your favorite thing to share?
Our ideal sharing item is a nice, moderately priced apartment with new amenities close to a University Campus or Job Center. But more than the apartment, it’s the experience and the networking opportunity. Imagine moving to a new city for 3 months and instead of staying with strangers, you stay with people just like to that also do internship in NYC or exchange in Chicago. That’s Flat-Club.