News and Updates

#1MCstp: Innclusive, August 16, 2017

Next at #1MCstp, Rohan Gilkes came to tell us about his startup, Innclusive!

“When you look at home-trade platforms right now, there is a problem with access, around gender identity, sexual orientation, race – it’s a significant problem. We built Innclusive to correct that problem,” Rohan said on Wednesday.

Rohan experienced discrimination on Airbnb first-hand when he tried to book a property. At first, he was told that the property wasn’t available on the dates requested, even though the property was listed available on the platform. Since his plans were flexible, Rohan inquired about different dates. The second request was also denied. Feeling that “something was off,” Rohan’s friend (who happens to be white) attempted to make the same reservation and was approved instantly.

Upset by this experience, Rohan reached out to Airbnb, but they were unhelpful. Then, Rohan wrote about his experience on Medium. The blog post went viral. He received over 2,000 emails from individuals, many sharing stories similar to his own. It became clear that “discrimination based on race is a systemic problem on Airbnb and other sharing platforms. In fact, it’s even been studied and confirmed by a 2016 Harvard study on the issue.”

Given the extent of the problem, Rohan, a six-time serial entrepreneur, felt he had to take action. “I felt that, given my background and the resources we have at our disposal, we have an obligation to do something about it.” And so Innclusive was born.

For the “global, diverse community of people who want to travel,” Innclusive offers a haven for home sharing – without discrimination. “We’re looking to build the most welcoming home sharing platform in the world,” Rohan said.

The short-term rental sharing platform “matches a diverse group of travelers with fun, affordable places to stay.” For minorities and marginalized communities, it is a welcome alternative to Airbnb. Similar companies have also launched in reaction to Airbnb’s discrimination incidents, such as Misterbnb, a home sharing platform for gay males.

Innclusive stands out by “embracing all people,” and in a $55B home sharing market that continues to grow, they have a chance at success. “I think we have a chance at a $1.1B market,” Rohan said.

To solve the issues of bias, Innclusive has taken a number of actions to prevent discrimination. Their flow of business “removes the possibility of bias by introducing photos of homeowners and guests only after the booking is confirmed.” In addition, the technology embeds safeguards to make sure that a homeowner cannot deny a stay to one person and make the same stay available to another. The platform also aims to secure instant booking on its properties, and 99% of their current listings offer instant booking. Finally, Innclusive‘s branding reflects diversity. The website design is intentionally constructed to send this message and “attract hosts that celebrate and welcome everyone.”

Launched last year, Innclusive is already gaining traction. They have received a lot of press and media attention, and currently have over 185,000 properties worldwide and more than 65,000 sign-ups. The company launched its Beta test in March, and in June alone, they earned $100,000. Rohan said that Innclusive aims to “have our first $300,000 month by December.” They are planning to build a mobile app in the near future, and anticipate scaling quickly.

Click here to see this week’s presentation video:
#1MCstp: Innclusive, August 16, 2017

How Can We Help?

Rohan said that we can help Innclusive in three ways:

  • “If you’re traveling, use Innclusive.” They have properties throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Brazil, the Caribbean, the United States, and more. “We have 200,000 properties and are adding 5-10k per week,” Rohan said.
  • Tell your friends about the platform”
  • “If you know someone who might be a potential investor, we are open to having those conversations”

If you would like to connect with Rohan, he can be contacted or (302) 981-6191.

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