What do you currently do?
I am the co-founder and CEO of FlatClub – the leading marketplace for medium term stays – from a few weeks to a few months. FlatClub has 20,000 rooms and flats, 75,000 members, and a team of 17. We help guests find and book accommodation for their study abroad, short courses, internships, consulting projects, business and travel – when they need an affordable place in a great location for more than just a few days.
What is your inspiration in the business?
Feedback from our customers. Sometimes, I look back on the conversation I had with my wife 4 years ago in our kitchen about the idea of FlatClub, and to see today thousands of people use it and like, it’s a great source for inspiration. I still start everyday by reading reviews and feedback from our customers, to learn from them how we can get better.
Who do you admire?
I admire my father. A true entrepreneur that inspired me to work harder and find creative solutions. At the age of 78 he still works harder than my entire team (including me!).
Looking back are there things you would have done differently?
Of course! I believe that only those who don’t do anything, don’t do mistakes. So I’ve made plenty of mistakes that I would have now probably done differently. The most important want is not to spend enough time on recruitment. Selecting the right team members is crucial and I now spend more and more time to ensure we only bring team members who fit the culture and goals of FlatClub.
What defines your way of doing business?
Think. Try. Fail. Improve. I believe in innovation, and I believe that today when there is data about everything innovation should be bottom-up – brainstorm an idea, find a simple way to test it, measure results, and then go ahead and implement or fail quickly for the next idea. We do it regularly at FlatClub and it allows us to run many trials at the same time and only focus and invest in those that work.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Spend time with your customers. I think the most important challenge for someone who starts is to make sure they come with the right solution. I work with a simple framework – Who? How? Why? Who is my customer – strictly defined, for example – a 25 years old student at NYU who is going for 3 months exchange/study abroad in London, never lived there before, and need accommodation. How would they hear about me? Once the why is defined well, finding out how to reach customers become much easier. The more targeted the approach is – the most cost-effective it will be. Why would they use the service? Probably the most important part – how do I create value and a better offering for this SPECIFIC customer comparing to competition.