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.
The Key Personas and the Value They See
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.
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.
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.