Shiroube, a new marketplace that enables local residents to offer guides and services for travellers, recently launched its open beta version (Update – January 2023: The website seems to be out of use, and we therefore deactivated the original link). This new travel marketplace could be compared to an Airbnb for travel services.
According to Shiroube’s founders, the platform already covers more than 1,000 cities. The two founders Tatsuo Sato and Takuya Matoba started the business, which is completely bootstrapped, at the beginning of this year.
The idea came about as a result of one of the co-founders, Tatsuo Sato’s, personal experiences. Tatsuo Sato, originally an engineer by profession, worked in international business development at Index-Atlas Holdings in Japan for 10 years. Tatsuo was travelling a lot for both work and holidays, and had visited more than a hundred countries. On one occasion, he travelled to an Eastern European country and wanted to try something new. Before his trip, he sent an email to a local student he knew; the student said he would be happy to show Tatsuo around and asked Tatsuo to teach him some Japanese during the visit in exchange. In this way, Tatsuo discovered the town together with a local and had an authentic travel experience.
The startup’s second co-founder Takuya Matoba previously worked for Fujisoft ABC and Uniden, and is the tech guru behind Shiroube. All tech and supportive operations are carried out in Tokyo, but Tatsuo is based in Paris and London for marketing purposes and to drive everything else in the business. According to the founding team, this international location mixture works very well, as while they enjoy cheap yet high quality technology services in Japan, the founders can focus on their mostly European user base.
The goal for Shiroube this year is to attract at least 10,000 people to use the service, and in the near future, the startup plans to introduce others languages on the service, particularly European languages such as German, French, Spanish and Italian.
By the way: If you are interested in getting unlimited access to our full editorial archive, our startup database, and many other CLUB benefits, consider joining our EU-Startups CLUB.