Founder Spotlight: Stay22

Founder Spotlight Stay22

Stay22 is an interactive map built to help businesses provide their users with a simple and stress-free experience when searching for accommodations and travel services near their events or desired destination. Displaying both Airbnb and hotels on the same map, Stay22 has access to the largest inventory in the industry, offering the best prices on over 35 million bookable listings in over 220 countries and territories. The Stay22 solution can be integrated and customized to look and feel like your brand, in a few minutes, at zero cost. Businesses who integrate our map will also generate revenue from each booking.

1. How did the idea of come about?

Stay22 came to be when, our founder, Hamed, was researching hotels for his upcoming trip to an e-sport tournament in Cologne, Germany. He quickly realized how difficult it was to find a suitable hotel for his event, in a new city with no knowledge of the local geography. This led him to create a map that displayed the venue location and hotel locations along with their prices. Being an avid Redditor, Hamed went ahead to post his handy little map on Reddit, which gained quite a bit of traction. Fellow Reddit users loved the idea: this map evolved into the Stay22 map today.

2. How did you meet your cofounders? Any tips on finding a cofounder?

If you haven’t met them in school or through common friends, the best way to meet or find co-founders is to attend events such as startup fests, hackathons, meetup events, and so on. This is how Hamed, my co-founder and I met; at StartupFest in Montreal a few years ago. From there, we got selected to participate in the Travelport accelerator program, a 4 months program in Denver, Colorado. Back then, we barely knew each other, but after an intensive 4 months where we worked hard, dedicated everything we’ve had to Stay22 and sharing everything, we knew we were a good fit. It also probably helped that I cooked all of Hamed’s meals for 4 months. Haha.

3. Cofounders can make or break a startup. What tips do you have for making a cofounder relationship work?

Just like any relationship; honesty and transparency are key. Surrounding yourself with co-founder(s) that have complementary skills is also an asset. For example, Hamed is excellent at managing the product/engineering front while I handle mostly investor relations, sales and operations.

4. How did you go about validating your idea and getting those first sets of users?

At first, we started testing our product on Reddit. We’d also meet users in coffee shops for 1:1 interviews, ask friends and eventually, we asked for partners feedback.

5. What tips do you have when it comes to building an MVP? Do you recommend any frameworks or tools to use?

We always use MVP when validating an idea or wanting to test. Our best advice is to use your own team, friends, family, folks from other startups or communities when testing out. If this works out, you can roll out to customers.

6. We notice you are on a high-growth trajectory. What’s it like to work at stay22?

Like most startups, we work hard and sometimes crazy hours. All of it tho is fulfilling because results speak for themselves. In the good or challenging times, we support and have each other’s back like family.

7. What sets of skills, competencies, and traits do you look for your new hires?

We look for smart and driven individuals, for people who aren’t afraid to take risks and get their hands dirty. We also seek for passionate and skilled individuals who are eager to learn in a fast paced environment that is constantly changing.

8. What’s the next exciting development for stay22 and the team?

Our map now offers new travel services: event-goers and travelers can search and book parking, car rentals, experiences and restaurants near events. We also completely revamped our dashboard and how we display results to our partners. We’re also recently rebranded; to make sure who we are and what we do is consistent with our visual identity.

9. Life and balance in a startup are often more of a blend. How do you stay relax and take time off work?

Outside of work, most of us will play video games or will do outdoor activities to relax. Work-life balance is tough in startups, so we’ve launched healthy initiatives such as wellness-Wednesday. We also provide our team with other perks such as healthy snacks and insurance coverage so our staff stays as healthy as possible.

10. What’s the best advice you have gotten for building a startup?

1) Make sure there is Product Market Fit 2) Build MVPs to test new things, and 3) surround yourself with great and skilled individuals.

To learn more about Stay22: 
Twitter: @getStay22

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