Startup Spotlight: PlaceMe
Startup Spotlight: PlaceMe
Meet Clara Arroyave, Co-Founder and CEO of PlaceMe, which simplifies the Boston housing market for the young professionals and graduate students by providing affordable, all-inclusive, flat monthly rentals at flexible lease terms.
GH: What is PlaceMe?
PlaceMe simplifies the Boston housing market for the young professionals and graduate students by providing affordable, all-inclusive, flat monthly rentals that include all utilities, internet, furniture and anything essential for a comfortable living, at flexible lease terms.
GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did PlaceMe get started?
GH: How did you build/ are you thinking about building your team?
Each of us have learned a bit along the way regarding the skills necessary to tackle almost every challenge about the product, process, customer development and building the company up from where it was a year ago to where it is now. We have an amazing intern now and all this experience is helping the team to design and craft every future role that we will be hiring for, a process that will start in the next couple of months.
GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?
We wake up every day with two ideas in mind: how to provide the best and most complete living experience that we can to our customers, and how to increase our footprint. Both founders are board members of local non-profit educational institutions (Clara at Breakthrough Greater Boston, and Francisco at Uncommon Schools Roxbury Prep), so we are not only focused on our daily work tasks, but we also try to give back to the community.
GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?
We were pretty excited about a property we wanted to close for a determined region in the Cambridge area. After a lot of back and forth between all the parties involved, we hit a wall. We tried again, we did everything we were asked for and then faceD another hiccup; we learned that sometimes we need to cut our losses quick and move on. It all worked really well in the end, as we were able to deploy those funds in additional properties that are working amazingly.
GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
Clara Arroyave, CEO & Founder of PlaceMe
GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?
The local ecosystem has giving me access to invaluable mentorship, relationships, support and a great network of like minded entrepreneurs, that share their own experiences and have supported us along this journey.
GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?
At this point I am not sure if something is missing, but there seems to be an almost exclusive focus on tech and bio-tech. It takes a bit more searching to find investors who are open to different business models like ours. Another thing I would like to see more is racial diversity. At most of the meetings I attend you can see gender diversity (among panelists, presenters, etc.), but we can certainly add more color to that palette.
GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
“You don’t need an MBA, you just need some accounting classes” I”ll never forget that one. From a former employer. I moved to Boston to get my MBA and never looked back.
GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?
Adding Francisco Marriott as CFO and Co-Founder. He truly understands the financial aspect of our business and compliments my skills very well.
GH: What does the future hold for PlaceMe?