Our Idea

Who are we?

Hi! We’re Jon and Jules. We’ve spent the last three years working together building a company that makes robotic sound systems that concert goers have loved. We’re well versed in both software and hardware development, and we have experience with getting startups off the ground. We care about user experience deeply, because we’ve seen first hand how powerful making a real connection with our clients can be.

We’re both travellers. Jon has a particular liking of AirBnb style bookings, and Jules is actually a pretty active AirBnb host.

What are we offering?

Jules noticed that managing the check-in process for guests at his apartment was getting time-consuming. At first, he had to actually meet guests as they arrived in town to handoff keys to them. When he started looking into what he could do to make this task less of a hassle, he realized that he didn’t really want to give his guests keys at all. What if they stole or copied them?

So Jon and Jules came up with Yama! Yama turns the intercom buzzer at Jules’ apartment building into a smart keypad that Jules’ guests can use to let themselves into his building. All Jules has to do  is let Yama assign his guests a new access code when they arrive, and his guests can come and go as they please. The best part is, having a keypad enabled deadbolt on his apartment means that his guests don’t have to deal with keys at all!

Who are we offering it to?

People like Jules are out there. AirBnb hosts with busy lives and a penchant for home automation, that is. Yama can work for anybody who hosts guests in a building that has a telephone based intercom system guarding the front door, but it really shines when paired up with a keypad smart-lock on the apartment unit itself.

Travellers appreciate Yama’s flexibility as well. Because there’s no keys to exchange, check-in and check-out times don’t need to be fixed! There’s no waiting around for the host or a neighbour to make themselves available to you, and there’s no treasure hunt for a hidden key to follow after a long day of travel.

Why does that person care?

Hosts love tools that make their lives easier, safer, and more in control. Yama offers ease, safety, and control to hosts in a way that’s visible and convenient to guests. Not only do hosts have to work less, they can provide a smoother experience for their guests.

Travellers appreciate not having things like flight delays cause butterfly-effect-like ripples of scheduling snafu’s mess up their day. Yama makes their booking plans resilient to any and all timing mishaps and ensures that the will get into the place they’ve booked regardless of whatever else happens to them on the road there.

Our distinctive competencies

We’re live! There are now 6 apartment units in Calgary using Yama. Those that are hosting with AirBnb are reporting very positive reviews, and the hosts are excited about how much energy and stress the system is saving them.

We’re seen! Though not finalized, our branding and logo design are well underway.

We’re competitive! Our competitors are asking far too much money of their subscribers for far too little product. We’ve tapped into some back-end wizardry (shhh, its secret) that allows us to scale to many thousands of customers in a way that our operational overheads actually shrink with every new client, and we’re positioned to offer Yama at a price much lower than our competition can because of it.

We’re kind! We’ll be dedicating a portion of the proceeds from monthly Yama subscriptions to housing-centric not for profit companies local to our clients. In Calgary? Using Yama might support Woods Homes. Toronto? You might be helping Homes First keep people out of the cold.

We’re Connecting! AirBnb offers a private API to certain partners to allow software like ours to manage certain aspects of a host’s operations automatically. They’re quite selective of what companies they allow to partner with them, and we’re in conversations with their support team to become a partner, ourselves.

The substitutes & alternatives

Clearly, meeting each and every client and handing them your keys is the least efficient way of operating as a host, but it does still happen.

Some hosts opt to make a key available in a lockbox or a hiding place, but these solutions become security risks as more and more people know the secret code for the box or the location of the hiding place.

Hosts can pay a local key exchange service to handle getting keys to and from travellers, but this pushes the inconvenience to the very people we’re trying to get a good rating from. Key exchanges aren’t always 24/7 and they might not be located conveniently close to the property.

There is one company that offers access code based intercom services similar to Yama’s, but its only bundled as a part of a larger set of guest management tools and their offering is quite expensive. You’ll end up paying for access to smart thermostat automation whether or not you have the right hardware in your home. We think a granular, 3rd party integration focused approach to these sorts of offerings is more appropriate.

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Our Pitch

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The Key Personas and the Value They See

Lynda #Traveller

Our first key person is Lynda. She’s been backpacking for the past two weeks and her flight doesn’t land until 10pm. She’s still waiting for her flight to take off and is worried that yet another flight delay might jeopardize her ability to check-in when she arrives.

She really appreciates making bookings with hosts that use Yama because she knows that no matter how late her flights are, or how difficult it is to navigate to apartment building, she’ll have no problems getting inside the building.

Yama promises Lynda that she won’t be left outside the building frustrated and tired.  She trusts that once she arrives at her destination, she’ll already have everything she needs to access her new sanctuary.

James #PropertyInvestor

Our second key person is James. He owns a number of condos in town and most of them are AirBnb properties that he manages himself. His standards are high for himself, and he’s determined to maintain his perfect 5-star rating. He’s always got the latest gadgets and doesn’t shy away from using online tools to help him get his ratings.

James is always looking to reduce his workload while improving the quality of his hosting so he can keep his properties both lucrative and in-demand. He appreciates that Yama can enable him to add yet another property to his portfolio without compromising his ability to manage his existing investments.

Yama takes the load off James by removing the need to deliver physical keys to his guests. Since some of his properties are high-end units, James worries about guests copying his keys so they can come back later and rob him. Yama removes this worry completely by ensuring that guests only ever have access while their booking is live. James can authorize Yama to negotiate with AirBnb’s services on his behalf, so all he needs to do is sit back and plan where he’ll place the couch in his next condo.

Cindy #RemoteHost

Our third key person is Chloe. She lives in a two bedroom condo downtown and her roommate just moved to Europe. She doesn’t want to take on another full time roommate quite yet, but having some help with rent each month and meeting some interesting characters is right up her alley. She’s a frugal full-time student, she works hard, and she spends most of her day in class or in the library.

Chloe can’t afford the disruption in her day to go meet someone to give them the keys to her place, and she does worry about a previous guest having copied her key and breaking in later.

Yama gives Chloe the flexibility and security that she needs in order to be comfortable opening up her spare bedroom to strangers. If a guest makes her feel unsafe and she needs to evict them, all she needs to do is revoke their access code and they no longer have the privilege of entering her space. There’s no fights over returning keys anywhere and she is in complete control.

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Your feedback and ideas

Feedback on our idea and your assessment of it are incredibly important. Please provide yours below.

Giving feedback and making an assessment are pretty straightforward, but make sure you know how it's done »

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9 Comments

  1. Customer (C)

    10

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    9

    People (P) on the team

    10

    Offering (O)

    10

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    10

    -As someone who has used AirBNB and been stuck hours waiting to meet with a host to collect keys, your idea resonates with me. For that, your value prop/customer is clear.
    -I very much enjoyed the demo, makes very clear that the product can work and is far in development.
    -You guys introduced yourselves well, made me believe you have the skills/experience to pull it off and that you care about the product.

    Suggestions
    -Maybe make a comparison to how much you will be able to save compared to competitor’s guest management tools? Not sure if you had a number in mind.
    -If you could maybe reference somebody you know who had their keys copied during an AirBNB stay (or reference an article with some numbers/statistics), could make for a strong introduction.
    -I liked how you mentioned alternative uses for the product. I think you could flush that out a bit more.

  2. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7

    People (P) on the team

    10

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    10

    Great pitch with a demo. However, it does not tell that true keyless is only when apartment door also has smart lock. So my break it/better it suggestion would be to elaborate it in pitch and it will help to further narrow down the market/customers.

  3. Customer (C)

    8.8

    Value proposition (VP)

    7.7

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    9.5

    People (P) on the team

    9.5

    Offering (O)

    10

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8.8

    A good and quite matured product. Very clear about offering and target customers. It is good to watch a clip that shows how the device works. But if a host owes a house without a built-in intercom service rather an apartment, could he use your product? Since your product is quited matured, you can talk about the future development and promotion and how to make it benefit more Airbnb hosters.

  4. Customer (C)

    8

    Value proposition (VP)

    9.5

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    9.4

    People (P) on the team

    10

    Offering (O)

    9

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    9

    This is a pretty cool idea and I can see it working quite well. I don’t know how costly it would be to operate and maintain a phone server, I hope it would be inexpensive enough that people would just sign up for the service and keep it for even when they are not renting out their homes for AirBnb.
    I can see an obstacle being having building management switching the intercom dial number, one of the buildings I lived in, it took them a month to update their system. So I would like this to be a service cheap enough that I would sign up and forget about it, and just use it without having to involve building management. But if this is pretty expensive for someone who is not renting out their flat all the time – this might be too much trouble to involve building management every time.
    Good luck.

  5. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    9

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    I like your product. It is very useful. I can see many apartment buildings wanting a product like this. You have clear pre-personas which I guess are not considered persona’s because your business is live. Being live with a few customers already is an excellent distinctive competencies, however I am worried that your product is too easy to replicate by other businesses. Maybe you could try to apply for a patent.

  6. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    8

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    8

    People (P) on the team

    7.5

    Offering (O)

    8.3

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8.2

    Very good pitch- very clear about target customers. I can understand the problem very well and I think this product is a very good solution for that. My only question is that if someone doesn’t have smart lock system in their house, can they use your product?

  7. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    8

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7.5

    People (P) on the team

    9

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7

    I think this is a good idea and product and it’s good to see that already some houses are using this. Because I booked Airbnb twice and both of them don’t need a real key. both are electric keyboard. But I will worry about the password is same for everyone or not. So, I think it’s a good solution for safety . for the pitch, I think you can do better in the imagination or ending part.

  8. Customer (C)

    3.6

    Value proposition (VP)

    5.4

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7.5

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    4.7

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    5.9

    I found there pitch good but i think there is customer is not specified properly. If you can show us any example of how it can benefit the customer and what are the key things what you cover and other people can’t, it can be of great value. Also I would like to add if you can show us any distinctive competencies as to how your team is working on it, what expertise you possess and others don’t, it can help us identify more easily that what makes you more different than others.

  9. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    10

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    8.5

    People (P) on the team

    10

    Offering (O)

    10

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    9

    Hello!!
    This is a great idea with absolute potential to expand.
    You understand very well exactly who is the target customer – AirB&B as a specific makes this nice and easy as well.
    To a small extent I feel you both could extend this to also include smartlocks for houses and non-apartment AirB&Bs.

    I’d caution on having the costs be the main deterant for clients to not use other apps doing the same thing – having the contributions to Woods home etc is a great touch but may not be enough if competitors become less expensive.