Virgin StartUp of the Week: Room in the Moon
The best startups solve problems, simple. This #VirginStartUp of the week provides answers for one of the most exciting yet stressful and scary life events there is - moving to a new city. We gave co-founders Rafael Dos Santos and Mario Altimari the ultimate elevator pitch to uncover exactly how their business, Room in the Moon, helps people to settle into the world's big cities.
We choose one Virgin StartUp company to be featured on Virginstartup.org each week. We ask our startups of the week to deliver the ultimate elevator pitch. What would they say if they had one minute in a lift with Sir Richard Branson?
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
We help people move to new cities. We do that by connecting people moving to the same city so they can have a friend as soon as they move, we connect locals, so they can learn about each other’s culture and help people to book rooms in flatshares.
Floor 1 to 2 - Where are you based?
Our office in is North Greenwich. We are part of the incubation programme at Ravensbourne and the DMIC project from the European Union that provides free office space for high growth companies.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
We are a social network with online booking facilities for flatshares.
We earn commission on rental of flatshares, flights and insurances for people moving to a new city or country.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
We have a few big players in the flatshare world: Gumtree, Spareroom and Easyroommate are the biggest ones at the moment. There is also accommodation for students which is a niche market in the flatsharing industry.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
We are a social network with online booking facilities.
We connect people moving to the same city. By connecting people we help reduce loneliness and connecting locals we help with culture shock.
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
When I was writing my book ‘Moving abroad, one step a time’ I was looking for a website that helps people who are moving abroad, which I could put my book on. I couldn’t find one that solved the 3 problems of moving: loneliness, accommodation and culture shock - that’s when roominthemoon.com came to life!
Floor 6 to 7 – How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
We received £7250.00
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
We are using it to develop the booking system. No business survives without money, so we need to make sure our revenue model is up and running soon.
Floor 8 to 9 – Who’s your Virgin StartUp Mentor?
I am in the process of choosing one at the moment.
Floor 9 to 10 – What’s the best tip they’ve given you?
I have a mentor and he keeps me focused on my business plan and numbers - always checking, implementing and adapting. I’m a marketing guy, so having a mentor in finance was the right decision. He has the skills that I don’t so he helps me a lot.
Floor 10 to 11 – What’s your workspace like? (send us a pic from your phone)
Ravensbourne is a super cool university in North Greenwich. They have amazing facilities. The startup incubator is on the first floor. We have access to Mac computers and other equipment as well as an amazing atmosphere. It looks like you are in the moon!
Floor 11 to 12 – where will your business be in 12 month’s time?
We hope we will have our 10.000 members registered. We’re giving away a scholarship to anywhere in the world as part of our competition until 31/12/14 and we are growing strong at 10-15 new members a day. We’ll be going to the USA to take part of an accelerator, so the future looks very exciting!