Everyone has a moving horror story to tell. From Craigslist scams, to parking tickets to dinged-up furniture, there’s no shortage of things that can go wrong when your entire life is packed into boxes. In fact, research from the UK suggests that moving house is more stressful than starting a new job, or even divorce.
In the wake of a particularly miserable moving experience, Reuven Gorsht spotted a potential business opportunity — an online platform that would manage moving tasks, answer questions and track your progress. Gorsht, the former Global Vice President of Customer Strategy at SAP Software & Solutions, teamed up with longtime friend Andrew Merisanu to create MoveSnap, a Toronto-based company which launched in February 2016. BuzzBuzzHome caught up with Gorsht to talk about his new business venture and how to avoid headache-inducing moving mistakes.
Photo: Nicolas Huk/Flickr
BuzzBuzzHome: As we understand, this isn’t your first business venture — can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Reuven Gorsht: I spent almost my entire career in various roles, from consulting to enterprise software, for a company called SAP. I had the pleasure of working on various projects, mostly focused on customer experience, but also focused around transformation and helping businesses evolve into the digital age.
BBH: How did you meet your CTO Andrew Merisanu?
RG: Andrew and I have know each other for a long time. He was actually at my wedding, about 11 years ago now. We knew each other through family and the timing was perfect. He was exiting his company, which specialized in logistics fleet management, and I was looking for someone I could partner with to realize my ideas. We got together for lunch and the rest is history.
BBH: What are your distinct roles within the company?
RG: Because we’re so small, Andrew is responsible for the creation, design, enhancements and development of everything product-related. I’m handling sales, marketing, general management… and sometimes janitorial duties [laughs].
BBH: What inspired your business model?
RG: Following my move a few years ago, I forgot to change the address on my wife’s car registration. A few weeks go by, and she gets pulled over. To this day she won’t let me live it down! It’s one of those things you completely ignore until it catches up with you.
MoveSnap was partially inspired by that experience, but we also wanted to do something meaningful — something that would solve a problem, save people time, reduce stress. When we looked at moving as a process, we found that 2.2 million Canadians move every year. Everyone kind of goes through the same thing, and if you think about it, the only tool we have at our disposal is essentially a checklist. Those checklists have been around since the age of the caveman, they probably chiseled theirs into slate. But checklists are very generic and they don’t tell you how to actually get stuff done. If anything, they tend to overwhelm you.
BBH: Can you briefly explain how MoveSnap works?
RG: Anyone who is moving can come to our site and register. Once they register, we personalize their move plan according to different variables. These variables include your moving date, location, housing type, whether you’re renting or owning, etc. From there, you’re delivered a plan that walks you through exactly what you need to do, when you need to do it, and how to get it done. That’s the cool part, it’s where we pull in resources — like where to donate unwanted clothing, how to transfer utilities, or the best methods for decluttering your home. We put it all at your fingertips, and the execution of those tasks becomes super easy.
RG: At the moment, we’ve got a very carefully curated marketplace. Service providers are handpicked, and we went out and interviewed hundreds of companies. We want to work with people who are all about building a brand and commit to great customer service. We’re putting our own reputation on the line, so we want to work with the best businesses in the city. In terms of the services, we’ve got everything from moving companies to professional organizers to locksmiths.
Outside of asking these companies for data, proof of licensing and background checks, what we did was focus on establishing relationships. If we’re working with a moving company, we want to have each other on speed dial. If anything were to happen, we have that rapport to make sure that we can advocate on behalf of our clients. So it’s really much more than the traditional, “Hey, do you have insurance? How long have you been in business?” kind of thing. We make sure to check them out from various angles and really build that relationship.
BBH: The information on your website is so thorough — how long did it take to conduct all the research?
RG: Initially, it took us three to four weeks to gather all the information that’s available on our website. But it’s always changing, so it’s an ongoing process. We invest a lot of time every week to review what’s changed and what’s new. We incorporate that information into a weekly update, so the product is always up to date. We also have algorithms to automate the process, but a lot of it is manual as well.
BBH: What are some of the most common moving mistakes? How can people use MoveSnap to avoid these problems?
RG: The biggest repercussions come from having moved and then forgetting to do something. Even one little thing, like forgetting to update a credit card, means your statement is going to the wrong address and you’re incurring interest. Vehicle registration and driver’s licenses have very short grace periods as well. A driver’s license needs to be renewed within six days of your move, and a lot of people just don’t do it. They don’t have the time, they get caught up and then it catches up to them.
With MoveSnap, we’re guiding people through the moving process to make sure they’re addressing everything that needs to be addressed. We simplify the information and make it easier to find. Instead of going to Service Canada and mowing through their site for half an hour, you can come to us to figure out what you need to do and when you need to do it. As you go through [your list of tasks], you can mark off things that have been completed and ensure that you didn’t miss anything.
Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr
BBH: What types of clients have you been targeting?
RG: We’ve been going after real estate companies — anything from realtors, brokers, condo developers, property managers. The other side of our business is how do we help the entire real estate industry and raise the bar on the customer experience. There are so many variables, not only are you moving, but you’ve got to go to third parties to apply for mortgages or appraisals. We want to simplify the tail end of the process and help anyone that’s a real estate professional turn it into a very positive, memorable experience that keeps their clients coming back.
BBH: How does your revenue model work?
RG: At the moment, we’re really focused on growing our users and partners. We do have some revenues coming in from our partners and we get a fee there. However, in the long term, we’re looking at other ways we can add value to consumers that are moving and businesses that are looking to engage with those consumers. We want to make the process smoother.
MoveSnap is totally free for users and available on any device, so you can get your tasks done from anywhere. We plan to have it free for users, always. We think there are other ways to grow and monetize the company.
BBH: What has it been like to work in the Ryerson DMZ? How has it helped you?
RG: It’s a phenomenal environment. There’s so much innovation and it’s always buzzing with activity. The DMZ has provided us with opportunities to meet larger companies, potential partners and do all sorts of introductions in the interest of accelerating our business.
BBH: Where do you see the company headed over the next five years or so?
RG: We want to become the de facto platform for anyone who is relocating. Whether you’re moving next door or long distance, we want to simplify the process so that you can just pack a suitcase, show up to your new house, and your stuff is already there and unpacked for you. You don’t have to incur any of the frustration, stress and waste of time that you do with the experience today. We think it’s time to raise the bar, and that’s how we see ourselves — as being the platform that any time you need to move, MoveSnap is the first step in that process.
BBH: Any plans for expansion?
RG: We started in Toronto and we have plans to expand across Canada, and then right into the U.S. It’s probably a little early to discuss strategy, but that’s been our intent all along. Right now, as a new startup, we’re all about learning and listening to our clients and users. We want to make sure that we’re building a product that people absolutely love and get a lot of value from. Once we feel like we’ve achieved that, then we’re going to launch our plans to scale.
For more information about MoveSnap, visit movesnap.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.