Hostels do not typically offer the most glamorous of accommodations, but for those looking to travel and need only a cheap place to stay. The team at Danish startup Comundu believes that this does not necessarily need to be the case and has developed a platform that enables guests to connect with one another or the hostel itself, ostensibly livening up the travel experience.
This platform allows guests to check in, write to the hostel, access a calendar of activities, reach out to fellow guests about joint outings (Comundu says that only first names are visible in profiles that guests may create), chat with other guests, receive recommendations, and more. One of the nicer aspects of the platform is that it is completely free to guests, as the startup has instead opted to generate revenue by charging hostels a monthly subscription fee, which offers hostels access to a customized platform, depending on the number of beds that they have.
Ideas for businesses can come in a variety of ways and for the founders of Comundu, the inspiration to dive into the world of entrepreneurship actually hit them while the brother and sister team of Mia and Lasse Grosen were traveling to Istanbul. They are experienced travelers, but it was their time working at a hostel in Sultanahmet that convinced them to build a platform that enables hostels to connect with their guests.
This startup was international from the start, as Mia Grosen tells me that they initially tested the platform at hostels in Copenhagen and Bangkok before deciding to go forward with the project. It was during their testing in Bangkok that they picked up their first external funding, taking in a public grant worth 50,000 Danish Krones (approximately $7,600). They followed that up with an undisclosed amount of private investment from Morten Dam Jespersen and another public grant, this one worth 200,000 Danish Krones (approximately $30,000). A few weeks ago, the startup announced that they have obtained backing from a second private investor, Danish hotel magnate Henning Arp-Hansen. While the exact amount of that investment was not revealed, Danish tech site Oresund Startups reports that it is valued “in the six figures” in Euro.
At the moment, Comundu has expanded to included 30 different hostels in 10 cities, primarily in Europe. They begin developing the project for both web and mobile, both Android and iOS, back in September 2014 and then officially launched last month. Since the platform launched, the startup says that they have hit the 500-download mark for their apps.
Grosen tells me that they are concentrating on becoming the go-to platform for enabling hostels to connect with their guests. They are toying with expanding a bit, however, considering possibilities with regards to booking, mobile-payment systems, or even setting up a global hostel network.