We’ve seen Tinder for X (Tinder for Jobs, Tinder for food, Tinder for apartments), AirBnB for X (AirBnB for campers, AirBnB for boats, AirBnB for office spaces) and so on. We’ve also seen several X meets Y startups, trying to find very niche areas that fit in a gap in the market. We had featured Trampolinn – AirBnB meets Couchsurfing some time back. Now what if you could use your skills as your travel currency? Yep. Welcome to the highly evolving travel industry – today, we speak to Marko Islamovic – CEO and founder of GigRove, where you can use your skills to see the world! Read on for more.
Please tell us a bit about Gigrove, in general, the idea and what triggered it:
GigRove is a collaborative community that seeks to do something that no other platform has ever done before – connect hosts such as employees of business startups that have living space to offer to skilled travelers who need a place to stay at their desirable destination. GigRove is like a place where Airbnb meets Freelancer.com – a place where business hosts provide accommodation to travelers and the travelers provide any of many different kinds of services in return. Travelers get to experience the adventure as well to get valuable working experience, and business startups get valuable short-term help with all kinds of services without breaking the bank. Actually, I got an idea when my cousin’s friend from LA wanted to visit my place in Madrid at the time, so I suggest him that I can provide him accommodation if he helps me with programming for my startup. He agreed, and it just came to me that this practice can be putted on the internet.
When did you start and how? What were your early challenges and what are the specific problems you’re trying to address?
We started officially in June this year. Obviously, when you have an idea to create something, you are going through a lot of thinking on how to make things happen. It all started originally from me, then I got my friends Peter and Alexis joining in. Everybody I told about GigRove was hyped by the idea. We soon got first thousand users and already connecting people to do exchanges. We were going through validated learning so the platform changed over time. We wanted to make it awesome. So we really put in the work to make a community for startup hosts and skilled travelers and allowed them to achieve more for less. Many amazing startup ideas usually lack seed capital to start or improve things they are working on. GigRove is allowing members of startups to offer accommodation to skilled travelers in exchange for few hour of help per day and meet cool people.
On the other side, people have so many unused skills. Understanding that their skills are premium, they basically have fun and revolutionized experience while doing trip gigs on GigRove and helping some startups achieve success. It’s also valuable working experience for them and they can learn and see how startups from other countries function.
How many exchanges have taken place through the platform and in which regions are you the most active?
We try to catch all exchanges and encourage members to update their status when doing the exchange. So far, there were hundreds of members doing an exchange and the number is increasing drastically. During next month, we we will reach 1000 exchanges only for the month of October. There are no rules, but active regions are usually North America, Europe and South America. We’ve seen an increase in Australia, also.
What are the most commonly sought after skills and what are the most commonly offered ones?
No rules, there’s something for everbody. But some popular are programming, marketing, graphic design, accounting, office repair, sales, customer support.
How do you build trust among the travelers and hosts?
Great question. We have few practices to lower down the number of issues as well to establish trust between members.
1) We implemented video chat so that they can have more humane interaction and meet each other before agreeing to collaborate. They can talk about the project and see if the collaboration will meet their expectations.
2) There are reviews on all profiles which both startup hosts and travellers are encouraged to leave after doing the collaboration. It’s up to the judgment of a startup whether to invite a traveller or not.
3) On the other side, if startup fails to provide what is stated in the listing, will become a subject of a removal from community.
4) And of course, they are able to send us an email or to give us call to report any possible violations and we will take care of it from there.
What are some of the special features of Gigrove and how do you differentiate yourself from some other similar services?
We are different in many ways. Beside beautiful design and UX, GigRove is focusing on startup hosts and skilled travelers who are able to provide help relevant to all world’s startups. It’s a non-financial collaboration with objective values. GigRove is unique, as there are obvious benefits for startup hosts as well for travelers. However, we have features like video chat, live support for travelers… GigRove UI is simply amazing, startups are also able to search for travelers by skills the need, and so on.
What is in store for you in the future? Something new you’re working on?
We’re currently working on the apps for Android and iOs so make sure to check it out. However, a lot more interesting stuff I can’t tell are coming up, which is making us super excited.
Are there some good customer stories that you want to share? Is there anything else that you wish to share with us?
Literally everybody are saying that our GigRove is absolutely crazy idea, but they love it. Startups and traveling is about people. People already have a lot of projects and a lot of unused skills. GigRove is allowing folks to put them to use in extremely cool manner.
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As part of OK, Intrnt’s efforts to connect people, we asked Marko if he would like to speak to some of our readers directly and he happily agreed! Write to us and we will get back to you and tell you how you can reach him!
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