Nitzan Yudan, a professional with more than ten years of experience in financial services, IT, and tourism, as well as an MBA from London Business School and MSc (Magna Cum Laude) in Industrial Engineering & Management from Ben Gurion University, Israel, defines himself as an avid traveler. In 2010, he launched – along with Tomer Kalish and Yaniv Kalish, FlatClub, which aims to help members find short term rentals they can trust.
They recently raised $1.5m in funding (read here).
FinSMEs: Hi Nitzan, nice to meet you. Can you tell me something about you?
Nitzan: Hi Ermanno, I’m an Israeli living in London. I moved to London 4 years ago to do an MBA in London Business School and to accelerate my finance career. I had offers from Deutche Bank and American Express, but ended up where my passion is – as an entrepreneur in the travel and sharing economy industry.
FinSMEs: What’s FlatClub?
Nitzan: FlatClub is an online marketplace, helping our members arrange short term stays with others they trust. Unlike any other service, FlatClub allows hosts to select the privacy settings of their listing, and control who will see it. For example, only alumni of top universities, bankers, consultants, or members of a trusted networks. We then verify that users belong to these members, and bring trust from existing networks, to the short-term renting. We have 50,000 members, 10,000 flats and rooms, and over 400 clubs.
FinSMEs: What’s the business model?
Nitzan: The business model is simple – we charge a service fee from every booking. The fee is reduced when the length of the stay is longer. There are no costs to join a club, to post a place, or to rent out a place.
FinSMEs: What about the team? Can you introduce the other members?
Nitzan: We have a team of 12 in our London office at Google Campus – TechHub. The team, like the business, is very diverse sharing 10 nationalities among us. 2 of our lead team members are Arco Galan who joined us when we were only 2 and is now Head of Operations, and Matt Chic, Head of Marketing, who graduated with MBA from Presidio Business School with a focus on collaborative consumption and the sharing economy.
FinSMEs: You just raised money. What about the funding? Was it difficult to close the deal?
Nitzan: We recently raised $1.5M from existing investors and new angel investors. Closing this round was much easier than closing our seed round, as the investors already knew us, we built our reputation, and delivered on the business plan.
FinSMEs: Are investors supportive?
Nitzan: The value of good angel investors is very high for a young business like us. We benefit from their advice, network, and experience in the industry.
FinSMEs: Do you plan to raise additional funding?
Nitzan: Yes. We will raise another round within 6-12 months.
FinSMEs: What’s your future plans?
Nitzan: We focus on replicating our trust model to more networks and more locations, aiming to reach 30,000 listings in the next 12 months.
FinSMEs: What about the London startup scene? What can you tell me?
Nitzan: The London startup scene is booming. We are based just on the Silicon Roundabout in East London and there are 100’s of startups within a radius of 500 meters. As an Israeli, it really reminds me the vibe around startups in Israel a few years ago, and I’m sure that with more success stories, this trend will grow even faster.