Off The Cuff — Meet Antoine Manfredi Digital Nomad, CEO and co-Founder of Goliday

AtGROW Labs, we are nuts about entrepreneurial stories. We love to hear them, and also help entrepreneurs to turn their wildest ideas into a rock-solid reality. Last week, we caught up with Antoine Manfredi, co-founder and CEO of the Vienna based rental platform Goliday, for a straightforward Q&A about Europe, Technology and Artificial Intelligence.

Who is Antoine Manfredi?

Born in Corsica from a French/Corsican father and an Austrian mother, I grew up between Vienna and my home island, Corsica. I was raised between two cultures -fundamentally different- as well as two languages. At home, we often started a chat in German and ended up suddenly talking French, or vice versa. 
I feel more European than anything else, and this translates in my lifestyle. I work remotely, travel a lot from a city to another. I love this freedom the European Union created. The Internet also contributed to it I think. 
I belong to this 30-something generation who grew up at an exciting time: the era of the rise of the Internet. It’s interesting because we know how life was before the Internet, and at the same time we significantly understand it. We are the generation that fully acknowledges the power of the Internet, how it works, its purpose as well as the intentions behind it. 
From a very young age, it was always clear that I would do something with it, but I was not entirely sure what and how. Therefore, after my engineering studies, I chose the corporate path and worked for several years in the automotive industry before I — finally!- decided to join the exciting startup scene and ultimately, to become an entrepreneur myself.

What exactly does Goliday?

Goliday is an all-in-one solution for owners of vacations home rentals. Our platform provides property owners with a white label solution to help them build a website for their properties. No technical knowledge is required to do so, and every property owner can quickly create the material they need to promote their short-term rental properties. Our platform is designed to help vacations rentals owners to develop a website seamlessly. We intend to make renters more independent from booking platforms such as Airbnb or; we aim to bring a complementary solution that enables direct bookings without reservation fees.

In that case, how are you profitable?

Our business model is based on a subscription model, depending on the number of properties on the website starting with 20€/month. We are also currently working on a free version for private homeowners, as only professionals need to pay for a subscription.

How did Goliday come to life? What was your inspiration?

I had this idea back to the days I live in Corsica. As you may know, Corsica is a touristic destination in the summertime. My family used to rent a small house in the summer. My role was to attract new clients online. While searching for new deals, it hit me: it is not very easy for people to rent their properties online, and booking platforms charge a lot, something between 20 and 25% for a service that is fully automated. What is more, the language was an issue. Most people in Corsica only speak French, and if you do not speak English, you miss out on a lot of rental opportunities. With my co-founder, we started to imagine a platform, free from high transaction fees that would help homeowners to reach a broader audience.

Where is Goliday standing right now?

The proof of concept is ready, and we had a funding round from the European Union, which speaks volume regarding credibility and impact. We ran extensive testing operations, and our solution is now flawlessly working. We ran users testing and ensured everybody was happy with the platform’s performance. For us, it was vital to build something that was 100% users centric. At the moment we are entering the next, and most perilous, phase that consists in growing and scaling-up. We on-boarded the first users, and we’re sorting out something most startups need to do: our next fundings round.

Who is onboard?

At the moment we are two co-founders, and we work together with one shareholder/investor who also acts as mentors. For example, he is helping us building scalability opportunities.


Which challenges did you encounter in the building process?

Each step we took meant facing a new challenge. We started with bootstrapping so we had to build a complex solution with a relatively limited budget and resources. Fortunately, we managed to increase our engineering processes. Code management, testing operations and quality insurance were time and money consuming issues, and it took a while until we figured out which option was the best, the most reliable and naturally, the most scalable.

What is the place of technology in your life?

I would say technology is embedded in my life, on a personal and professional level. Like most people I guess, right? With Goliday, we use many apps and tools that allow us to analyse users behaviour. We believe data and user-centricity are essential elements to succeed in our mission. Technology also helps us to keep track of each project, and if you ask me which apps are always open on my phone, I will say Trello, Slack and Google Analytics. Productivity apps can be convenient, but it’s important to stay in control, they can be very time-consuming. Most of the time when I look at my phone, I always have several notifications on my home screen, so I try to only take care of them at dedicated moments.

Which technology interests you the most?

I see Artificial Intelligence (AI) as one of the most exciting technology at the moment, and probably the most sustainable one. AI is certainly going to evolve and to remodel the world as we know it. I see it as the technology that will reshape our society and human evolution. It is omnipresent in our daily lives, but people do not acknowledge it yet. It will shape the future generation, and bots might merge with people. As we speak, AI probably is the most spectacular innovation humanity faced over the past decades. I am convinced its impact will keep on growing over the upcoming years.

Which app would you need on a desert island?

I can think of two apps. Google Map to make sure I will not miss out any spots on the island, and YouTube to remain entertained and to keep my connection with the outer world.

Tell me something I do not expect?

Sometimes I dream of leaving the city life behind and heading back to my roots in Corsica. I would buy a farm, and a significant land where would grow my vegetables, raise a few goats, get my farmer milk, and make some cheese. Corsica is a chill place you know, and people live quite old there. There must be a reason, something that has to do with the lifestyle, don’t you think?

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