Pros & Cons of Bizpora


Hi, I’m Lorna Li, host of Entrepreneurs for a Change. This video series explores lifestyle business travel tips. Today I’m gonna talk about the pros and cons of using Bizpora as a source for short-term and long-term business travel accommodation. Now, if Airbnb and LinkedIn got together and had a baby, it would be called Bizpora. So essentially, Bizpora used to be a service called Startup Stay, which was a free service that allowed travelling entrepreneurs and business people to connect with local hosts who would be overjoyed to meet with interesting entrepreneurs and travelling business people for coffee or even as a way to offer them free accommodation, like room on your couch or in their extra bedroom. So I used that service myself ages ago. I actually got connected with a really cool, Argentine venture capitalist who was coming to San Francisco for TechCrunch Disrupt. And even though I was in a really hectic space, trying to sell my house and all my possessions through estate sale, I was still able to host him in my downstairs area – my downstairs bedroom – and it was really cool to connect with him, and discover the world of Latin American startups. So if you wanna meet really cool travelling business people, definitely check out Bizpora.com. Now, there’s some advantages and disadvantages to using Bizpora for accommodations. Now, when it was a free service, it was kind of like couchsurfing.com but for business people. When it was free, it was a lot more difficult to find reliable accommodation because as you know, a lot of business people who are eager to meet other business people as well as host them, they tend to be also very busy people, too. So it’s really hard to make a connection, and a lot of it depends on priorities. But when the service re- branded and relaunched as Bizpora.com, they now allow hosts to be able to charge for accommodation. So this actually ups the game; so now that there’s a certain amount of accountability as well as a business incentive to be able to earn money on that extra bedroom that you have, while hosting someone really cool from another country, who is involved in business and startup enterprise. So, some of the advantages of using Bizpora.com include the ability to connect with a host that’s genuinely interested in who you are as a business person. Another advantage is chances are, if they’re also a business person, they will have good Internet and most likely a home office that you might be able to use; maybe they’ll let you squat their desk, or in the very least, they’ll probably be more accommodating of your need to work from their dining room table, or coffee table, for large chunks of time during the day. You might also be able to borrow their fax machine or their scanner. Another advantage of Bizpora is that it’s a trust-based system, and they integrate with Facebook and LinkedIn for verification. So before you decide to host someone, you could check out their professional background on LinkedIn, and decide whether or not there’s value in hosting a person with those particular skills and expertise. So that if you decide to host that person, you’ll know what their expertise is and you can make the most of the time that you guys have together. Because of this verification process, you can seek references on this individual through your personal networks. So with the case of this Argentine VC that I hosted, I needed to make sure that he was genuinely a venture capitalist and not a VC in disguise while really being an axe murderer, ha ha. So in any case, there were a number of people in my network that knew him, and I reached out to them, and they all said really great things about him; basically that I would learn a lot just from an hour of his time. So I was really glad to be able to suss him out before I invited him into my home. What I love about Bizpora is that it really takes networking, especially business networking to the next level. And the opportunity that you have to spend with this individual is a priceless opportunity for relationship-building and for mind-share. Some of the disadvantages of using Bizpora is that it is a much more limited population of people. So, Airbnb is a much bigger marketplace but most of the people in Airbnb aren’t really hardcore business people or startup enthusiasts. So you might have a harder time relying on Bizpora for guaranteed accommodation. And of course, certain cities will have a larger population of Bizpora hosts than others. So a city like San Francisco, for example, or Berlin, or London would probably have a wider population of hosts and greater opportunities to secure accommodation from a Bizpora host than some other locale. So thanks a lot for listening today. For more tips on lifestyle business travel, please visit entrepreneursforachange.com. Thank you.

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