Hostel Point: Past Summer Venture Program Participants: Where Are They Now? (2017 Series: Part 4)
When you travel to a new country and stay in a hostel, you probably don’t know what to expect from the experience. Will your roommates be yoga fanatics or would they rather go bungee jumping? This uncertainty is what drove Leonardo Robligio to create Hostel Point, Co. This in-house social platform allows guests to communicate with each other before arrival and enables hostel management to enhance guests’ experience in real time. Leo has traveled to over 60 countries and stayed at over 100 hostels, so he knows firsthand the major pain points faced by these customers. He participated in the 2016 Summer Venture Program.
What made you want to apply to the Summer Venture Program?
Beforehand, Hostel Point a team of three and our previous work experience was within big corporations. We were all busy with classes and needed to work on the company in a collaborative environment. We had spoken with past SVP participants and learned that what the program offered was a perfect fit for us. SVP is full of entrepreneurs facing similar obstacles, leading to a lot of idea generation. We needed ideas and inspiration.
Where are you now compared to when you participated in SVP?
When we entered the program, all we had was an idea and some market research. We had never really tested the market beforehand. During SVP, we finally went to market, which is very exciting because you see how customers react to your predictions. Our first business model didn’t work, which was great to learn so early on. By the end of the program, we had changed our business model and people were using it. We now have something that works. At this point, we are improving our technology and adding more hostels to the platform. SVP was critical for us to go to market and react quickly to customer preferences.
What is your biggest takeaway from the experience?
We continue to use the strategies we learned for effectively pitching our business. At the SVP showcase, we felt comfortable with our pitch and it ended up being great. Every time we pitch Hostel Point, we apply these techniques.
What is your favorite memory from SVP?
Living together in the residence hall on campus provided a lot of great memories. Entrepreneurship can be overwhelming because you sometimes feel that you are working 24/7. Sharing a living space in addition to a co-working space was great. Other memorable times were the Lunch and Learns, especially when Guy Kawasaki spoke to the group. He encouraged us to deliver immediate value. This was important for us to hear and helped us decide to pivot.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
I recommend that you make sure the program is the right fit for the stage your business is in at the time. For us, SVP was great because we were in the launch stage and were solving uncertainty by working with advisors. However, if you have already launched your business and you need to spend time working with customers, you should really determine if this is the best use of your time. The importance of SVP is the community that everyone forms. Decide whether you can actually engage with the program and if this is the best fit for the business. For us, it was great!