Trovali Founder’s Journal


Trovali headlines El Mercurio, Chile’s largest newspaper

After going door to door doing research for our newly launched startup, one which we had to launch on 12/12/12  for good luck, it feels good to know that we are seeing amazing demand in Santiago for getting things done easier.  Like most marketplaces, the juggling act of managing supply and demand has made our entrance into the Chilean ecosystem a tricky one.  Students need money and they are willing to spend hours striking for free education…but Im not really sure they are willing to work freelance just yet….throwing rocks at cops is easy…and not as risky as doing a little work for yourself.   Thats just a bit out of the comfort zone, but we’re making headway and I it looks like within 6 weeks we will have a large enough population of student Runners to manage our supply.

This morning, the manager of my hotel asked me if I could provide 10 housekeepers a day…for the next 3 months.  I was a little surprised to see that one of the top hotels in Chile was so understaffed…maybe thats why I havent had clean towels in nearly a week.  Apparently every hotel in Santiago has a great need for “chambermaids” and it is creating a bit of an upward price war for cleaning “talent”.  Why go work for $30/day at the Gen Suites when the Marriott can pay $35.  (yes, These are the real wages they pay)  I never thought I would be in the housekeeper staffing business in South America, but if it gets the market excited about what we can do, we will pedal janitorial services.


Laundry mishap in Chile

2 months after beginning to build Trovali, I am still running into comical issues getting simple things done.  Last week I finally mustered up the strength to leave my workload to do some laundry in the basement of my hotel.  2 laundry tokens cost $6- this will get you one load of clothes washed and dried- I bought four tokens for $12 dollars and 2 hours later pulled my still soaking wet clothes out of the dryers.  2 broken dryers- no refund and no way of getting it repaired- just the typical shrug from the maintenance guy.  I ended up having to hang sheets over the balcony, underwear from chairs and every doorknob, picture-frame, and broom in my apartment had something hanging from it.  Watching my clothes collect smog and mold while I spent the afternoon working on trovali, reminded me of why I am spending 18 hours a day building this site.  Now, on top of laundry issues, I have a big whole in my door from our 4th of July party when one of my colleagues managed to lock us out of the room.  Now the only way to fix this was to call up a locksmith…with his limited Spanish, there was no way to tell if he was getting a professional or just a guy with a screwdriver.  Well unfortunately, he called the later and for $80 got us into the apartment, but it was ugly….

For those of you who have spent some time  in South America, take a crack at this poll:

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be rolling out Trovali

Trovali: What Does It Mean

Spanish speakers sit tight…. we are in the process of creating the most efficient way of getting things done in South America.  For now, expats, gringos, and the Chilean who actually speaks Spanish can join us in building this amazing platform.

A little vague?  Well here’s an idea of how it will work – it’s a Sunday and you need help delivering and setting up your furniture you just bought at Sodimac or the furniture store.  You don’t want to pay a bunch of guys sitting outside the hardware store so you post a task and within minutes students with building experience start bidding on your task.  After an hour, you choose a student who has a truck, excellent reviews, and has building experience.  You pay him $15-20 for about an hour of his time.  You save money and he earns what he could in almost a day.  You leave him a great review and next time you need something done, you will go to Trovali to save money.

Having lived in Santiago, Chile for the last 6 months, I’ve struggled to find a cheap way of getting my laundry done. It costs about $8  at my apartment to do it myself and it’s roughly the same to drop it off down the street.  That’s insane – I’m not paying $8 to drop something off anywhere – only if they come and pick it up at my doorstep. This is Chile not Manhattan!  Just don’t tell anyone in Chile this – prices are spiraling out of control and creating a false sense of worth and value throughout the country.  Trovali is essentially a check on this system – effectively creating a meritocratic marketplace where price is determined by true value.

In order to make this happen, we need your help – we need people who want to get things done more efficiently and we need people who want to make money helping their neighbors get stuff done.