Local BigWig: An Expedia for Corporate Housing and Extended Stays

November 9, 2011

1:00 pm

Ray Madronio worked for 2 years with a housing provider in New York City building a network of rental properties. He is also a certified realtor in New York. So when it came time to work on a startup, housing was an obvious choice.

Local Bigwig, cofounded by Madronio in 2010, is a platform for finding furnished corporate housing. “We offer an Expedia.com-like website to book extended stays,” says Madronio. The New York City startup has raised $70,000 in angel funding.

Companies or employees seeking housing can search Local Bigwig with filters like number of bedrooms or price. Properties are displayed in a list and map view. The site features 45 housing providers so far who can list for free and search for and message potential guests, with Local Bigwig taking a 5% cut of the rental amount.

Madronio says he was surprised by how long it takes to build the platform and sign up providers, even with his connections.

Another challenge is convincing corporations to change the way they book housing, so Local Bigwig is trying to offer a superior experience. Guests can book directly on their platform – compared to options like HomeAway, which make you email hosts – and Local Bigwig can handle scheduled monthly payments and security deposits. They also vet properties by visiting them and speaking with the owners.

“The process of finding a local home rental has always been a time-consuming, phone- and paper-intensive, and stressful process,” says cofounder Sami Begg.

To hear more about why Local Bigwig is different, visit their booth at our Tech Cocktail DC mixer this Thursday.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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