iStopOver has a brilliant value proposition

I was doing some writing for an angel investing/venture capital site and my research took me to the blog of Rick Segal (of JLA Ventures). Good content there for investors and start-up founders!

Anyway, one of the companies he mentioned in a recent blog was iStopOver. I read his little write-up about them then went over to their site: iStopOver.com. They have a residential section, too, but I was more interested in the office section.

Here’s a summary of what they do: Lots of offices have extra office space, unused boardrooms, and workrooms that have been built but not populated by employees. And those businesses have invested resources and are paying overhead on those office environments but aren’t recouping their investment. iStopOver says “why not rent that space out to traveling business people who need an occasional office?”

I think that’s a great idea. It’s a compelling value proposition for both sides of the transaction.

  • The business who rents out their office space earns a little to offset overhead and to make use of unused assets.
  • The business person who rents the space has way more flexibility (and dramatically less cost) than if they bought a membership to one of those virtual office locations, which might not be in the location they need to do business or might be too costly for a smaller company that doesn’t travel frequently.

To tie this back to the Business Diamond Framework™, this is a great way to convert a Support Diamond asset into a revenue-generating one. It is rare for Support Diamond assets or people to directly earn revenue, but this is a great case when that does happen.

Now the challenge that iStopOver is facing is this: They’re only valuable if they offer a lot of choice to travelers so they need to find businesses who are willing to rent space and they need to do it fast.

I just checked their Twitter presence, which seems like a good place to get both businesses and travelers. Seems like they’ve been fairly active, which is good. I forgot to check for a presence on LinkedIn but it seems like it a LinkedIn group aimed at business travelers might be a good idea.

*** Update August 6, 2013: I just learned that iStopOver is now 9Flats.com, focusing exclusively on residential instead of business renters. Interesting. Does that mean hotels or companies like Regus still have the corporate market locked up? It will be interesting to see if another business-focused company (similar to the office side of iStopOver) appears in the market.

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