Happipad is an online platform that connects individuals looking for affordable, medium-to-long term accommodation with those who want to rent out space in their home. The Happipad platform leverages data analytics, curation, and trust mechanisms to make value transactions between users more efficient and to increase their likelihood of having a good rental experience.
Helping find the perfect roommate
Platforms that currently serve the shared housing rental market (listing sites and dedicated roommate platforms) do a poor job of optimizing value flow between producers and consumers.
First, the interactions between producers and consumers are inefficient. Consumers on listing and roommate sites send as many inquiries as possible to increase their likelihood of success, meaning that producers must manage multiple communication threads.
Second, listing and roommate sites do not capture sufficient data to address the multi-dimensional nature of selecting an ideal housemate – in addition to obvious factors such as price, location, term duration, and access to transportation, selecting a housemate requires consideration of daily schedules, visitors, gender, religious and political views, vaccination status, and occupation.
Finally, listing and roommate sites do not possess mechanisms for social value exchange (reviews and feedback) and therefore, lack means to signal and incentivize good behaviour.
A winning product
Since their inception in 2018, Happipad has won numerous prizes and competitions, including:
- Winner of the 2019 Staples Canada “This is How I Grow my Business” Contest ($25,000)
- Winner of the 2020 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Demonstrations Initiative, received $250,000 in grant funding to demonstrate a scalable shared housing platform solution
- Short-listed for the 2021 Housing Supply Challenge, received $200,000 in incubation funding to develop data-driven solutions to address housing supply issues and will compete with 21 other finalists for a funding pot of $22 million in Fall 2021.
- Recipient of a 2021 New Horizons for Seniors grant to increase partnerships with senior-serving organizations.
- Established a companion housing network across Western Canada consisting of 18 community organizations and non-profit groups.
New markets and new mentors
Happipad is competing in the 2021 Competition to further develop their business model in consultation with leading experts on 2-sided marketplaces. As a Kelowna-based company, the Competition has been pivotal in opening up new relationships with Vancouver-based mentors who have successfully scaled platform solutions.
At this moment, the company is focused on improving its platform architecture to efficiently orchestrate connections between Hosts and Guests through data analytics collected from users and creating trust mechanisms to signal and incentivize good behavior. Concurrently, they are further developing their customer models for both Hosts and Guests with the goal of achieving both supply- and demand-side pull on their platform.
A platform for interaction
Happipad began in 2018 as a pilot project that aimed to find housing for students in the homes of seniors. Their biggest challenge has been the development of an appropriate conceptual framework that transforms Happipad from a service-based business (providing housing for students) into a platform-based business (facilitating interactions between Hosts and Guests through online infrastructure).
Finding new motivations in a pandemic
COVID-19 taught Happipad to focus on their long-term vision. The company experienced a short-term setback when COVID restrictions crushed the home sharing rental market, during which they continued to connect with community stakeholders, government organizations, advisors, and mentors. They realized that by solving the efficiency and efficacy problems in the shared housing market, they had the potential to vastly increase affordable housing supply and improve the housing security of the most vulnerable populations. This singular vision continues to be one of the greatest drivers for the Happipad team.
About the founders
Cailan Libby | CEO & Co-Founder
- Education: BASc, Electrical Engineering, University of British Columbia
- Fun Fact: I love rock climbing but am terrified of heights.
Kenneth Chau | Co-Founder
- Education: PhD in Electrical Engineering, University of Alberta
- Fun Fact: I named my daughter after my favourite scientist.
Amanda Aube | Co-Founder & Operations Manager
- Education: BA, Psychology/Philosophy, University of Ottawa
- Fun Fact: One thing on my bucket list is to sleep under the stars on the top of a mountain
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- City: Kelowna BC
- Founding date: July 2017
- Type of tech: RealTech