Hotels and hostels have long served as reliable options for when you need a place to stay while out on the road, but are not always the best options if you are looking to meet locals in the process. French startup Yestudent aims to fill this gap with a platform that connects young people for short-term roommate arrangements.
I did a sample search (Paris, in this case), in order to get a feel for the platform and found that you can filter though results by price, type of bed, services, transportation, and distance (including the option of enabling by school). And then you can arrange the listings by most recent, “coolest”, number of guests (up to 2), and date.
What is interesting is that, in addition to listing the price and location, each profile lists the type of sleeping option available (bed, couch, mattress, etc.). Within the profiles, you will find information on cost, the host’s living accommodation (whether he/she lives alone or has a roommate), and the types of services that they provide, including picking the guest up at the airport, giving a tour of the city, accompanying them to the exam, cooking for them, and offering to get the first drink when they go to hang out for the first time.
As they operate a marketplace, Yestudent has, unsurprisingly, opted for a commission-based revenue model, taking 4 Euro from each booking that they process.
In terms of financial backing, Yestudent claims 450K Euro (about $510K) from Capitole Angels, Digital Place Invest, and BPI. The startup is currently focused on going globally, as they tell me that they have picked up “tens of thousands” of users from around the world after launching 2 years ago and that they intend to operate in 50 cities around Europe by the end of the year. They have also revealed that they are growing at a 20% week-over-week rate and that they have expanded their staff from 6 to 18 within the past 3 months.