Shiroube, a new marketplace that enables local residents to offer guides and services for travelers, recently launched its open beta version. The new kind of travel marketplace is like an AirBnB for travel services. According to the Shiroube founders, the platform already covers more than 1,000 cities. The two founders of Shiroube (Tatsuo Sato and Takuya Matoba) started the business, which is completely bootstrapped, in the beginning of this year.
The idea of Shiroube was given by a personal experience of the co-founder Tatsuo Sato. He was travelling a lot and visited more than a hundred countries for business and pleasure. One time he traveled to an Eastern European country and wanted to try something new: So before his trip, he sent an email to a local student who learned Japanese. The student said he would be happy to show Tatsuo around and asked Tatsuo to teach him some Japanese during the visit. So Tatsuo ended up teaching some Japanese and the guy showed him his city. This way Tatsuo discovered the town together with a local and had an exciting travel experience.
Tatsuo Sato, originally an engineer by profession, worked in the international business development at Index-Atlas Holdings (in Japan) for 10 years. Takuya Matoba is the “Tech Guru” behind Shiroube and worked previously for Fujisoft ABC and Uniden. All tech and supportive operations at Shiroube are done in Tokyo (Japan). But Tatsuo is based in Paris and London for marketing and driving everything else. According to the founding team, this international location mixture works very well. While they enjoy cheap yet high quality of technology service in Japan, the founders can focus on their mostly European userbase.
In the near future Shiroube plans to implement other languages on the service, particularly European languages such as German, French, Spanish and Italian in the future as I saw strong demands than any other languages. The goal of the Shiroube founders for this year is to attract at least 10,000 people to use the service.