Need a place to host your next business meeting but don’t know where to look? RoomLeopard, a new locally-founded online service, may have the answer.
Described by CEO Mike Schiller as the “Airbnb for meeting spaces,” RoomLeopard connects hosts with renters looking to borrow a space for a short amount time.
“We’d like to be a marketplace for anybody who needs to get together with a bunch of people,” says Schiller, who runs the site with business partner and RoomLeopard COO Michael Sobkowiak and lead developer Kevyn Reinholt.
The idea came from Schiller and Sobkowiak’s experience with Green Building Alliance and Venture Outdoors, two nonprofit organizations they ran. The two men often had trouble finding places to host gatherings, which ranged from small business meetings to large public events.
“We were always looking for the right spaces at the right times of day at the right price,” Schiller says.
RoomLeopard works to provide a flexible, affordable way for renters to find what they need while allowing hosts to profit off their underused spaces. On the site, users can narrow selections by typing in a preferred location, the amount of time they need the space, and the group size. Hosts list their spaces for free and determine the pricing, which includes a small service fee.
The Pittsburgh-based medical nonprofit Global Links is currently in the process of adding to the site three under-utilized meeting and conference rooms at their Greentree headquarters.
“We are excited about the opportunities that RoomLeopard offers us to raise revenue to support our mission,” says Global Links deputy director Angela Garcia. “The team at RoomLeopard is very supportive and the app interface is easy to manage and customizable to our organization’s schedule.”
While users can expect to find conference rooms, they can also choose from a variety of creative, unorthodox places to meet, such as art galleries or classrooms. A search for a space able to fit up to 20 people resulted in a school playground, a dance studio and a coffee shop. There are also rooms in private residences available for rent.
Schiller believes that while RoomLeopard provides a valuable service to established businesses and nonprofits, it would also benefit freelancers seeking more places to practice their craft. For example, the site could facilitate a yoga instructor looking to teach classes in various studios in and around the city.
“They’re not tied to a particular location and they can still be prosperous as a business person,” says Schiller.
The site currently offers more than 30 meeting locations, but there are plans to hit around 100. Schiller says they aim to attract large venues that renters would not usually think of, such as the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty, which seats around 350 people.
“If you want to bring a couple hundred of people together for a lecture or presentation or theater group, there aren’t that many spaces and you don’t know where they all are,” says Schiller. “We’d like to make it easy for people to find those spaces.”