First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Carlos Pierre: It has been a difficult period for everyone, but we’re healthy, which is the most important.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Badi
Carlos Pierre: After graduating in Business Administration in Barcelona, I worked as an auditor at Pricewaterhousecoopers. I came up with the idea of founding a company when I was starting to look for a place to rent in Barcelona’s city center. I was surfing the internet and could only find poor quality listings of flats to rent, which weren’t affordable at the time. I started then looking for a flatshare, and I realized a lack of focus on the social component. Nowadays, users seek verified information, trust, and excellent user experience. That’s when I had the idea: create a platform that offers affordable, good quality room rental supply and matches it with verified tenants through a marketplace that could focus on matching social profiles with awesome user experience and UI. I knew that this was a problem affecting people everywhere worldwide, so I thought it was a good moment to start my own project and help create a solution for it. I created Badi with the mission of improving the room rental experience across the globe by developing a platform that makes the entire process more seamless and secure.
How does Badi innovate?
Carlos Pierre: Badi has a strong position in the rental market as we make people’s lives easier. We connect people who have a spare room with people looking for a room without intermediaries by using artificial intelligence and machine learning. We keep working on digitizing all rental experience and allowing people to reserve their rooms in a secure and safe environment. Since our creation in 2015, we have been able to see 16 M connections, and last year on average, a room reservation was made every two minutes, reaching more than 85,000 in one year. For us, the best sign that we fulfill our mission is when we make the rental experience a safe, simple, and transparent process.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Carlos Pierre: After the lockdown, the rental market, in general, suffered a significant drop due to the security measures and the uncertainty generated by the coronavirus. After this period of confinement, we have seen a relevant increase in supply level compared to the same period of the previous year and sustained growth in the level of demand month by month since June. So we have all of the reasons to stay confident as housing is a basic need.
That being said, the pandemic offered us a great horizon of opportunities. This crisis pushed us to work on delivering relevant features related to online transactions & visits to avoid unnecessary interactions earlier than expected, which is something positive for our business and our users.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Carlos Pierre: We were about to open an office in New York, but with the Covid, we had to take a step back to focus on our European markets. That being said, we reorganized our priorities and focused on what matters most in the short-term.
As for many companies, the Covid-19 crisis has completely changed and impacted the way we work. We had to change our way of thinking and take quick actions to keep our teams motivated remotely. As you can imagine, Badi believes in human interactions a lot and made everything possible to put an amazing office at the employee’s disposal where people want and enjoy coming to work every day. Therefore, Badi was offering 15 days of remote work a year for all people who wanted to use them. A flexible remote work policy was not in place at this moment. We’re already thinking of the Post COVID-19 and are conscious that working remotely doesn’t have to be linked to a slowdown in productivity. We are aware that the way of life will have changed drastically by then. Our idea is to be together again soon; although it can take us several months, we’ll always prioritize our employees’ well-being.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Carlos Pierre: I see bad news as life circumstances to be grasped and resolved. The pandemic affects the global economy, but instead of focusing on how dramatic this situation can be, I am thinking about how I can contribute to making things go better.
Seeing life from another perspective helps me both professionally and personally. There will always be circumstances to solve an increasingly complex; therefore, the important thing is to be aware that there is a solution for everything and put all our efforts to find them. Without stress and anxiety, a startup will not be a startup. You have to know why you’re here and what you want to reach.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Carlos Pierre: Real Estate classifieds like Idealista and Spareroom as well as marketplaces focusing on students and online bookings like Uniplaces are our main competitors. We plan to stay in the game but, more importantly, to differentiate ourselves. We’re currently working on different initiatives that will come to fruition.
Your final thoughts
Carlos Pierre: Confinement is undoubtedly pushing the entire real estate industry to changes such as digitization and rapid adaptation of its services. The time has come to put technology at the center. Our mission at Badi is to improve our entire community’s rental experience, and this acceleration is good for us since we start up thousands of projects that we were aware of as priority number 1. Badi believes in improving processes, and this pandemic will help us take a step there to offer a unique and safe experience to our users and contribute to solving the problem of access to housing through digitization and artificial intelligence.
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