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In fact, the pandemic worked in their favor – their business is to be a matchmaker for short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) and cleaning services, at a time when cleanliness was especially top of everyone’s mind.
It’s been a steady and committed journey, as five years ago when the company launched, it was just the pair working together. But today, the company has grown to be over 100 staff and tens of thousands of cleaners in its marketplace.
“The key takeaway for me is it’s very important to have someone to run with, someone who can help you stay accountable and committed,” noted Assaf.
“If I had started this company by myself, I wouldn’t have survived through the first two years. There were so many setbacks and disappointments and not enough rewarding moments. Having someone to work with made it possible to stay committed and persist in making it through another month. It’s good to choose someone that is as committed as you, and make sure you both hold each other accountable.”
While the company is headquartered in Hawaii, the TurnoverBnB team spans across 12 time zones and seven countries. Keeping team engagement high through daily Zoom meetings can be a challenge for companies of this size, but they found a solution through a creative avenue – virtual reality.
“Meeting in VR helps us bridge the distance and brings us closer together. It’s a lot more interactive. It’s not exactly like being across the table, but it’s close,” said Assaf.
“You don’t want to become a lumbering organization. You want to keep agile and nimble. We do a lot of activities to maintain our company culture. That’s something that we think about a lot.” Some of those activities include online games, offering gifts and prizes, and recognizing staff birthdays and life events.
In April 2022, they held a company Summit in Brazil, where many team members met in person for the first time. “It was great to see everyone in person, eat together, drink together, talk, and create friendships. It was an amazing time,” said Tim.
“In today’s world where a lot of work is done remotely, it’s easy to disengage and fall off the radar. We are really trying to fight that and make sure our teammates are emotionally invested and engaged with the rest of the team,” added Assaf. “We are not passive managers who run the company and don’t know what is going on. We have hands in a lot of areas.”
Living in Hawaii certainly has its perks. Besides the beautiful scenery and year-round temperatures averaging a comfortable 78 degrees, Hawaii allows Tim and Assaf time to focus on a work-life balance and pursue the hobbies they enjoy in their island lifestyles.
In Tim’s free time he is often found on the water - racing sailboats, surfing, or enjoying pau hana with friends at the sandbar after work. In Hawaiian, pau hana is synonymous with happy hour and is a regular after-work activity enjoyed with friends.
Assaf also takes advantage of living in paradise by spending time in the outdoors freediving and snorkeling in Hawaii’s crystal-clear waters.
In 2021, the company raised $4.5 million in Series A funding, led by RET Ventures and accelerator Blue Startups.
“It’s really a story of perseverance. Sticking to it and believing in the idea. Even when it was hard to believe it. At the beginning, we were posting revenue numbers that basically buy you lunch, and that’s about it,” said Assaf. “Today, we are very proud of the fact that there are a lot of people who earn a living on our platform – a good living too. It’s a big source of pride for us.”
Assaf said what he’s learned along the way is to remain committed to the dream. “I think you always have to set your goals higher than where you think you’ll land. You aim higher, you land higher. It’s an exercise of optimism,” he said.
“You need a sprinkle of delusional optimism and persistence.”
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