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  • Great Companies

Sandra Jimenez Marin, Co-Founder at Swapoffi

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Sandra Jimenez Marin: During my office life, I organised travelling around bank holidays and annual leave for maximum days off. Then Covid happened and a new way of life came, remote working. Accommodation was always the limiting factor, as it is expensive. So I came up with the idea for Swapoffi. Members of our community swap accommodation instead of paying for it!

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Swapoffi?

Sandra Jimenez Marin: We are a home exchange community for remote workers. The cost of accommodation is the single biggest problem for remote workers and digital nomads. Swapoffi eliminates this cost.

Great Companies: What makes Swapoffi different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Sandra Jimenez Marin: Swapoffi is different to traditional home exchanges as they cater for families who value bedrooms for one-off vacations. Our home exchange is for solos and couples who value workspaces over bedrooms and who travel as a lifestyle, and for months not weeks.

We are different to newer home exchanges as we are first to market. I am proud to say we already have homes, in 25 countries across 4 continents with new ones coming on board all the day. More importantly, we don't just connect people and homes like some emerging competitors, we have a 4 step verification process to verify the person, the home, the workspace and reliable Wi-Fi. It takes a little bit of effort from members and from us, but we think it is worth it for everyone's peace of mind.

Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Sandra Jimenez Marin: Some start-ups can take an MVP (minimum viable product) approach. We had to build most of our tech features before we could launch, as the first members of our community need the same features as the 1,000,000th member! That was time consuming and at times hard to keep going month after month.

Launching to the public in June of this year really helped as we can engage with members now for their input and feedback. Its great to be live and out there, rather than working behind closed doors on market research and tech build for so long !

Now our main challenge is to spread the word about our concept and build our brand. We are entirely self funded so don't have a large marketing budget. Targeting an online audience is much easier though than traditional ways of marketing. Everyone can be found online and most people are also building something so are happy to share or support.

If all else fails, hard work overcomes everything!

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Swapoffi?

Sandra Jimenez Marin: Our community is at the heart of everything. So in 5 years time, we expect our active members to do a lot of our marketing as they share with others how much money they can save on accommodation all over the world through being a Swapoffi member. Ultiimately people can travel more and for longer once they have free accommodation. So expect a lot more user generated content about Swapoffi.

Also, we are collaborating more and more each month as so many groups and businesses serve remote workers. We can all grow together! Remote work is the new way to travel, so we expect this trend to continue. So in 5 years time, we expect that all remote workers know of this option to join a home swap community for free accommodation and to work productively. We want to be the number one choice for accommodation for remote workers.

Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Sandra Jimenez Marin: Get a good team, or at least one person around that who complements your skills set. If you are building an online business, choose your tech builder wisely. It will be a long term and potentially expensive relationship. There are a lot of supports out there for start-ups. Make sure you know about them and take advantage of them.



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