On 15th March 2017, the Lisbon CommUnity visited the Uniplaces headquarters in order to learn more about the entrepreneurship world. Uniplaces is an international venture whose aim is to help millions of students worldwide to find and book their accommodation online. These are the thoughts of Muhammed Bello, a 2nd year InnoEnergy student at IST who wants to share his experience.


Picture by: Rafael Martins 

If I had a penny for every time I heard these words: “I want to be an important person; a CEO, an entrepreneur …” I would give Bill Gates a run for his money, except I would also lose a penny for every time it was mere talk. Here at InnoEnergy, I have found a community of people who have uttered these words or at least nurtured them as thoughts, and have begun the journey towards its realisation.

As part of efforts to support CommUnity members concerned about entrepreneurial intricacies, the Lisbon CommUnity is driven by Zig Ziglars’ metaphorical analogy of motivation: “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing - that’s why we recommend it everyday”. In other words, it constantly seeks opportunities to connect its members with stories/people that are blazing the trail in entrepreneurship.  The most recent of such efforts was this visit to Uniplaces.

Uniplaces is an online platform for students to find and secure a home away from home. It was conceived by Miguel (Portuguese), Mariano (Argentine), and Ben (British) from the shared pain of finding the right place to rent whilst studying abroad. Uniplaces has continued to blaze a successful trail year after year over its meager five years of existence. Currently in six cities, with over 500,000 nights booked by students from 140 countries and a workforce of 130 in the 21-40-age range, the company is listed as the fastest growing Internet platform in its business space and a top European tech startup, amongst many other prestigious accolades.

We had the privilege to be hosted by a young and vibrant João Ribeiro, who holds a Master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, yet is the marketing manager of the company. He shared his story and personal journey with us, gave us a tour of the work space which features homey cushions, bean bags, a ping pong table, a kitchen and a chalkboard with schedules for a chain of team relationship enhancement/fun activities like massage Monday and yoga Friday. He proceeded to discuss the work culture, innovative approaches, challenges and future milestones for Uniplaces.

After a short coffee/ping-pong break, we fired our barrage of questions which he patiently and mostly satisfactorily answered until our curiosities were laid to rest. The visit came to an end on a high note, with cameras capturing gratifying smiles. My personal takeaway was a rejuvenated will to apply myself in solving societal challenges and in effect, change the game.


By Muhammaed Kabir Bello

In collaboration with The CommUnity Post

7 April 2017

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