Living in London is expensive and students/recent graduates have a tight budget. They usually look for shared flats to lower the cost of living, but finding good flatmates is a cumbersome process. Bad experiences with flatmates are common amongst students and consume a lot of energy. Additionally contracts on flats normally run for 6 or 12 months, making it impossible for tenants to quickly change flats in order to escape their incompatible flatmates.
In contrast living with matching flatmates can substantially alter the whole experience of studying in London. A good flatshare allows students/recent graduates to focus on their studies and on their career, instead of wasting their time with problems at home. Good flatmates can even boost their respective performance and that results in happier, more successful students/recent graduates.
Ultimately happy, successful students/recent graduates benefit their university as well. And a university having a solution for the flatmate problem gets better reputation and therefore attracts more talent. This already creates a win-win-situation.
Therefore we, ViviAmo, decided to solve the flatmate problem.
What it does
Our main offering is an app that allows users to conveniently find flatmates who really suit them. The outstanding features of our app are gamification, providing fun for our users, and an elaborate matching algorithm, ensuring the best possible matches. To get a better understanding of what it does, here goes the user journey with some additional explanations:
Upon registration users provide their student's ID or similar and a user's identity gets validated through the university's network. This guarantees safety amongst the community. Users create a profile optionally providing minimal bio, setting their available budget and by describing themselves with a few hashtags. The fun part begins when users get confronted with a number of scenarios that could happen in a shared flat. They get to choose a reaction resembling how they would react finding themselves in these scenarios. Further on they can rate how important every one of these scenarios is to them; the set of scenarios then adapts according to the rating and the given answer.
Once the users answered, let us say, seven questions, we awaken the algorithm to do some nice work. It maps the input of our users to scores that are assigned to specific personality traits (e.g. tidiness, timidity, i-love-party). This is where we utilise psychological assessment techniques to analyse the users' needs and personality traits. Under the hood the algorithm then matches users who have similar personality traits, similar needs and, up to a certain extent, similar hashtags.
Eventually the users get shown their respective matches and can access the in-app messaging and video call functions to connect. We show them a list of possible flats as well. The lists with flatmates and flats are saved to the users' profiles for convenient access. This is the preliminary end of our user journey, but the beginning of a harmonic flatshare experience for our users.
How we built it
For now we built a design prototype in figma; you can check it out on the bottom of this page - in order to get the "feel" of our app. On the design thinking and business side we used miro and numerous lean canvases, so one could say we built it with our minds. The development of a software prototype takes place as soon as we sufficiently validated our proposed solution to the flatmate problem.
Challenges we ran into
How are we meant to basically create a startup within less than 48 hours? Coordination of teamwork and working on a close deadline definitely have been our challenges so far. And not falling asleep in front of the screen is worth mentioning.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are pretty proud of our pretty design prototype and we already validated the need and the acceptance of our app on the user side. Then we found a promising way to match people based on personality traits.
What we learned
First of all we learned to work under high pressure in a team of former strangers. During the design thinking process we learned that we really have to focus on a small target group for the start.
What's next for ViviAmo
As mentioned above we want to develop a software prototype after some further validation of the business model. On the long run we want to create a community app with a couple of modular features - stay tuned.
One of the next steps is reaching out to universities, here we want to:
- get their point of view on our project
- establish a possible cooperation to test a prototype.
Feel free to contact us!
ViviAmo - better live together and live better together