Those who like projects with an offline component are going to love CorporateStays and its subsdiaries. It started as mystudiomontreal.com, a service designed for foreign students looking for a temporary room, for a session or two. Due to the nature of their stays, they can’t sign a lease, and they also have special requirements, such as a fully furnished place, that makes it possible to ask for a higher rental price. Vladimir De Suarez, back then a new HEC Montreal student, had only to look for a property owner willing it to try it out, put the listing online, and then try to get the link listed everywhere.
Since Montreal is one of the top university cities in North America, customers poured in, and in a few years, the business grew to Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, plus also Miami, Panama and Costa Rica, (with 200 properties owned by the company just in Montreal!). Not bad for a young HEC Montreal student who started out with practically nothing a few years back.
If you think about it, renting is very similar to hosting businesses: it’s not the most advanced technologically, nor does it require advanced marketing strategies (lean startup tricks anyone?), but it does bring money home every month… while all other new businesses are just struggling to know if they even have a market. The beauty of mystudiomontreal / corporatestays is because of its targeted customers, and the product packaging, it’s able to command a premium, with the possibility of paying back bank loans in less than a year. Customers are happy with the quality of the products, the virtuous cycle repeats with good repeat and referral business.
Of course, it’s not a pure web startup, since it has to focus a lot on the offline customer experience, and also real estate partnerships, but CorporateStays is at the same time a business that wouldn’t exist without the web. CorporateStays targets expatriates and foreign students, through paid traffic, AirBnB, social media marketing. Also, we all love success stories, don’t we? especially when it comes to just-out-of-school students who dabble in their first web business.
Go check out CorporateStays