When Lucas Lovell, Charles Inglis and Mitch Pascoe launched their startup Hopstay in Adelaide (Australia) in 2016, they didn’t expect their business venture to take them halfway around the world. But where else could they find better solutions to tourism infrastructure problems than in Paris, one of the world’s leading tourist destinations?
The three co-founders of Hopstay, aged just 26, have already been on an amazing journey. Mitch was working as a data programmer in audiovisual systems while Lucas and Charles were in their final year of law school when they decided to create their own business. Together, they developed a content platform to help tourism companies communicate through various different channels. After working together for one year, they started thinking about the European market, “but not seriously though,” says Lucas Lowell, who saw a post about “this great French Tech Ticket program” on Facebook and decided to apply.
Looking back a year later, he remarks: “We were accepted in early December 2016. We literally had five weeks to pack up our lives in Australia and move everything to Paris.” Provided with visas and all the practical advice they needed, they joined the Welcome City Lab incubator.
“I think it’s great that they assigned us to an incubator for a whole year,” Lucas explains. “It has made us learn a lot about our own product and understand better where we fit in the market, making us think how we need to be at the cutting-edge.”
Hopstay is currently working for organizations such as Lyon tourist office. “We enable travel companies or hotels to upload content and then distribute it via a wide range of different communication platforms, from email to Facebook Messenger, Chatbots, WhatsApp, and soon WeChat for the Chinese market.” And even if their French Tech Ticket program has now come to an end, their journey certainly hasn’t.
“We decided last November that we were going to stay in France and continue to grow our business out of Paris. We were still working on the logistics of that when Welcome City Lab offered us the chance to stay here,” he says.
“From a business point of view, we’ve no reason to go back to Australia. We feel confident and comfortable about staying here indefinitely.”
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