Have you ever looked for an apartment in a foreign country? Was it easy for you to rent a normal apartment with good neighbors for a long time? As practice shows, long-term rental housing in Europe is a difficult question, especially if you know little of the city, language and are limited in the budget.
Carlos Pierre, CEO of the startup Badi, once faced the problem of finding housing in a big city and realized how difficult it is. This case prompted him to make life easier for people and create a special application to search for perfect neighbors and perfect housing without risk. We asked Carlos to tell us how and where Badi’s story started, how he managed not only to launch the app, but also to make it popular in many European countries.
What is Badi?
Founded in 2015, Badi is the leading app when it comes to finding the perfect flatmate, according to age, tastes, and interests. Badi makes cities accessible to everyone, unlocking available rooms and eradicating the need for estate agents. Badi is the first PropTech startup to implement Artificial Intelligence to obtain greater effectiveness when connecting profiles, both for roommates and rooms.
When and how did you get the idea to create such a service? Why did you choose this trend for a startup?
I wanted to live in the city center and started looking for a flat to rent. However, I couldn’t afford a flat for myself and wasn’t able to find any platforms which met all of his needs. One day, I came across the crazy story of an American girl who found a roommate in just two days after publishing her room on a dating app. And I thought: why not build a platform that connects people to find flatmates according to your age, tastes, and interests? That’s the process that inspired me to launch Badi in September 2015.
What experts were indispensable at the stage of creating and launching a project?
When I decided to launch the project, I needed to be surrounded by tech experts. I started to work on the project with Alberto Betella, CTO at Badi, in charge of building a fast growing tech team.
You have such strong competitors in your field like airbnb.com, booking.com. What are your competitive advantages? What helps you to maintain a strong position in the market?
We don’t consider booking.com and airbnb as our direct competitors as we do not offer the same services. We’re not a vacational rental platform but a room rental platform for mid and long-term period.
Badi has a strong position in the market as we make the life of people easier. We connect people who have a spare room with people who are looking for a room without intermediaries by using artificial intelligence and machine learning. We focus on the user experience making the app very easy to use.
Is this the first your startup or did you have another ones previously? What are these projects and on what stages they are?
This is my first startup.
If you do not mind my asking, what was the investment amount for project creation and initial promotion? Was it an investor’s money or your personal savings? If it was an investor’s help, could you tell us how you found him.
At the very early stage I gather some initial funds from friends and family, but then I quickly got a funding raise of 300.000 euros from business angels. Once we showed that our project was attractive and the high market traction, we received other funding rounds of 1M euros led by Mangrove Capital Partner, and early this year we’ve closed a serie A of 10 million dollars led by Spark Capital.
How to start promoting a young technology project in your opinion?
When you start a new idea is important to promote your project in a specific area (for example we just launched in Barcelona) and to one specific target group. Having this in mind, you can analyse quickly if your product is generating traction to a specific target group, or if on the contrary, it needs to focus on other targets or pivot your project. The time is crucial in a startup, so it’s important to be proactive and take fast decisions.
What were the challenges during the launch and how did you cope with them?
When it comes to start a new project, the most difficult challenge is the ability to take fast decisions. The users are the ones who know and it’s very important from a very start beginning to analyze the data and understand our users to be able to move on.
What are the most effective approaches for your product promotion?
Our main acquisition channel it has been historically the digital platforms, such as Social Media or Search engines, however, in order to build branding and trust, our PR strategy has been really relevant in our marketing strategy.
What of your knowledge and skills were useful while launching the project?
When I started with Badi I didn’t have a lot of professional knowledge or skills, as I just had one-year work experience after the university, so in order to be able to launch a successful project I surrounded myself with the best professionals and I constantly asked other professionals about their feedback and opinions.
If conflicts arise between owners and renters, are you involved in solving them? In the case of your participation, how do you solve them? If there is an example of such a case, please tell us about it.
At the stage where we are now, we just connect owners and renters. Once the connection is done, we do not intervene unless there is any problem that we can resolve.
Would you recommend to startuppers to subscribe for the pages of any Internet communities able to provide them with some helpful information?
I would recommend to startuppers to grow their network with other startups to gather helpful information and to know more about problems all startups may have at the beginning.
If there were no Badi, what another project would you develop?
How do you see further development of your project?
The next objective of Badi is to internationalise its services in the main european cities.
What is the most valuable business advice you’ve ever received?
The best business advice I’ve ever received is to believe in your product. It’s very important to choose the best investors because they will have an important role in the company when it comes to take strategic decisions.