Folio offers a self-service tool so property managers and
short-term rental hosts can create interactive apps for their properties, with
details about property and its amenities, local recommendations and messaging.
Property managers and hosts pay a monthly subscription fee
for each app created on Folio, with different pricing plans depending on the
features needed in the app.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
Folio is a digital front desk solution powered by artificial
intelligence that automates guest management for the short-term rental
industry. Our self-service platform allows property managers and hosts to
create interactive apps that guests use as a digital front desk, optimizing the
entire guest experience from booking to checkout and beyond.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your
Property managers and short-term rental hosts use our
guided, self-service tool to design interactive apps for each of their
properties. Each app serves as a digital front desk, sharing information about
the property and amenities, providing curated recommendations for things to do
in the area, sending automated messaging and responses supported by
conversational AI and more. Apps are shared with guests with a unique link or a
QR code - no downloads are needed. Property managers and hosts use our
dashboard to update their apps and those changes sync immediately. We charge a
monthly subscription fee per active app, with pricing tiers depending on the
features and support needed.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats) analysis of the company.
- Strengths: Our product was designed with the needs of both
the host and the guest in mind, providing a singular touchpoint for all guest
- Weaknesses: The current focus is on domestic U.S. travel
since we launched during a time when international travel was limited. As
restrictions lift and we expand to international markets, we need to be mindful
of how those needs might differ.
- Opportunities: Further product development and introduction
of new features to achieve the dual goals of 1) supporting property managers who
are leveraging technology to automate more and more of their operations and 2)
elevating the guest experience to that of a branded, hotel-like stay.
- Threats: The landscape of tech solutions for short-term
rentals is fragmented with no clear winner, leading to uncertainty around who
will ultimately dominate the space.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate
from both the customer and the industry perspective?
As a Cornell University hospitality professor says in a recent
New York Times article, “high tech is the new high touch.” For property
managers and owners, we automate the manual and labor-intensive aspects of
guest management - sharing amenity information, giving recommendations for
local food and activities, repeatedly answering the same guest questions - saving
them both time and money and allowing them scale their operations at a fraction
of the cost.
For the broader travel industry, as the line continues to
blur between hotels and short-term rentals, Folio offers a consistent guest
experience for travelers regardless of the type of accommodation they choose.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of
Our customers love our product. We’ve experienced 50% growth
over the past five months based on word-of-mouth alone. We’re now ramping up
sales and marketing efforts, which include forming partnership with other
service providers in the short-term rental and hospitality space.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a
genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
Folio was created to address the shifting needs of the
short-term rental hosts and property managers as a result of COVID-19. We
started with a pilot group of eight properties and iterated on product
development based on their feedback and those of their guests. We just launched
an upgraded platform with more self-service features to streamline the setup
and maintenance process of the apps.
Property managers currently spend over $10 billion a year on
tech solutions to help them operate their business. That number will only grow as
the overall market grows at 15% a year and property managers increasingly spend
more on technology.
How and when will you make money?
We charge a monthly subscription fee for each app created on
our platform, with different pricing plans depending on the features needed.
Despite launching less than nine months ago, we are already supporting hundreds
of properties and on an exponential growth curve. We also have plans to capture
additional revenue from ancillary services in the near future.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the
Folio’s founder and CEO, Amy Tang, is a Columbia Engineering
PhD, data scientist and recent winner of the inaugural Phocuswright Startup
Program Mentee Award. Prior to starting Folio, she spent more than five years
as a data science consultant, leading teams to design and implement AI-enabled
tech solutions for large, multinational companies.
How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your
As a company started by a female, immigrant founder and a
remote-first team, diversity and inclusion are embedded in Folio’s culture and
core values. Additionally, we encourage property managers on our platform to
consider the different needs of guests staying at their property, for example,
calling out any accessibility features in their homes.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business
We’d like to ship new product features faster. We have a
very engaged set of users giving us great feedback and ideas for additional
features and future product expansion. Recruiting engineering talent these days
has been quite challenging!
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making
an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
We’ve had a hard time keeping up with demand - our solution
provides immediate and real value to property managers looking to automate more
and more aspects of guest management. Our focus on designing the best
experience for both hosts and travelers makes our product an integral part of
any short-term rental operation.
A year from now, what state do you think your startup will
Over the next year, we will be laser-focused on increasing
the number of property managers and hosts we support and introducing new
product features to help them provide an elevated guest experience to their
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing
and staying private, etc.
Our end-game is to leverage technology to help property
managers and hosts provide exceptional guest hospitality. Whether that involves
partnerships, acquisitions or going public, we will continue to build the
best-in-class technology to support the growing short-term rental market and
the increasing number of travelers choosing them.
PhocusWire's Startup Stage
Learn more about our profiling of new travel companies and how to apply.