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Meet Hopstay, a happy startup supported by Paris&Co

19.07.2017

Hopstay was founded by 3 australian entrepreneurs. Laureat of the French Tech Ticket, Hopstay is supported by Paris&Co, Hosted in the Welcome City Lab.

 

When did you arrive in Paris ?

We have now been in France for 5.5 months and in the incubator for 4.5 months. We wanted to give you an update on what life has been like for us moving to Paris, how we’ve found everything & what the future holds for us.
Before we give you all the updates, we want to thank you all for being so great to us over the first half of our year here. 3 25-year old Australians moving to Paris, far far away from our family & friends, was quite scary. And trying to move a business here made it even scarier! We are very grateful for the support you have shown, as well as your tolerance of our poor francais. We have always felt welcome at the Welcome City Lab & we are excited about the next 6 months here.
So, after a long settling-in period, and a great experience with you in Paris… We have decided that we want to stay in France and build our business from France in 2018, after our time at the Welcome City Lab / French Tech Ticket. Our parents have been suspicious for a while, but Mum did say to me on the phone today ‘you aren’t coming home soon, aren’t you?’ And she’s correct. We love it here and think that Paris is a great place to run our company.

It seems that many Australians dream of the same thing, too… [Or maybe it’s just that all of our families have signed up to Duolingo?]

 

More practically, can you explain to us your choice to stay in Paris ?

A few reasons  why we want to commit to France.

  • French tech is way too exciting at the moment to leave and we feel very lucky to be a part of it. We spent a couple of days at Vivatech and attended a few French Tech events in the evenings. The buzz was electric.
  • Tourism. We work in tourism, and Paris IS tourism. It’s the right commercial decision for us and we have support for this from our shareholder group in Australia.
  • We enjoy life here. Australia is amazing, but so is France. And why not experience a different part of the world for a while?

What that means from a business point of view: it looks like we will open a company here. It will probably be the holding company, with the Australian company as a subsidiary. This is something that we are still working through with lawyers, but it’s looking more likely every day.

Obviously this is all contingent on us doing well. As you know, startup life is up & down, so you can never plan too far ahead. But we’re comfortable with where we are at and need to continue to push as hard as we can.

Can you tell us more about your evolving product?

Being in a new country & a new market, means some things have to change…
We are making some changes to our product & brand over the coming weeks. I believe we mentioned some of it in our last meeting with Laurent (note: Laurent Queige is the Welcome City Lab's Chief Operating Officer). Most of this has been spurred by feedback from some of the parties we have been working with. We are preparing to launch out of beta with a newly designed product.

We have built a new product that achieves the same functionality without requiring the guest to download a mobile app. We found that the biggest challenge for properties using our product was that they had to convince the guest to download an app. We were experiencing a breakdown in the b2c part of the b2b2c model.

So, we have built another product that uses our existing infrastructure, but with the following changes:

  • Instead of requiring the guest to download a mobile app, the platform uses email & SMS as well (2 existing platforms)
  • The property can access latest tips/recommendations (curated by us), list events/festivals, tours etc. on the platform
  • They can then package this information into a format that is then emailed/messaged to the guest when they arrive/each morning/whenever they like

We are not removing the app, but simply providing another option for properties. It is a 'Lite' version for properties that aren’t yet ready for a mobile app. In the meantime, the app is getting a face-lift to make some necessary improvements. Of the feedback we’ve received from properties using the app, the most common feedback has been ‘can you book through it?’ The answer is obviously no. But we believe that listening is the best thing we can do. The current OTA market is a massive pain point for accommodation providers and they are always
looking for ways to get bookings either directly or cheaper. We are currently exploring ways to integrate booking into the communication platform to make it a seamless, centralised end-to-end guest experience. This isn’t happening immediately but forms the core of our vision for the future.

As has been mentioned, we are currently rebranding our company. And now is the best time to do it. We will have a new name, logo & colour scheme. There's a few reasons we're doing this, but mainly:

  • We have noticed that European people have a lot of difficulty pronouncing & spelling Tenderfoot – we have had quite a few problems with this when pitching to potential clients.
  • We have been attracting a wider market since being here. We initially branded the company for 'backpackers', but we've had interest from nicer, flashpacker-style properties. We think the millennial market is moving quickly into this space (hostel-style atmosphere with hotel-style amenities, i.e. Generator, Joe&Joe & other large hotel brands launching millennial brands). This is a massive growth area and we want our brand to align with this market direction.

I have attached a branding guide to this email as well and would love your thoughts on it! To develop our business.
In addition to registering our company, we are going to commence the capital raising process over the coming months. The goal is to raise a seed round here in Europe and grow our team. I have received your list of investors and also have access to other potential opportunities through the French Tech Ticket.


Thank you. Do you have anything that you want to add ?

Thanks again for all your help and guidance! We look forward to the second half of our year here and our future in Paris!
 


Lucas, Charles & Mitch