For the fifth time in a little over five years, I was laboring through content, reviews and friends’ suggestions on flat-hunting, doctors, gyms, hair salons and more. “Why is there not a company that does moving like Lonely Planet does travel?” I bemoaned. My fiancé suddenly looked up, “You should do it,” he said. “That’s brilliant.”
A year later MOVE Guides is a reality. Our New York iPhone application is now on sale through iTunes. Mobile applications and printed books will soon be available for London, New York, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Singapore. In 2011, we will expand to additional cities and likely announce a larger web-based platform.
MOVE Guides was born to address the challenges of relocating to and settling into a city – challenges that I have personally encountered in each of the five MOVE cities.
I graduated from Yale University in 2006, and after summers interning in New York (I recall asking a pretty stranger for a hair salon recommendation when I’d first arrived), I moved to Hong Kong to work as an investment banker and put my Mandarin to the test (as it turns out, a few Cantonese phrases are about all you need in HK).
I picked a sight-unseen serviced apartment from my training desk in Jersey City and returned home to mould on my walls before I knew I needed a dehumidifier. Two and a half years later, I labored through the complicated exit procedures and moved to Singapore to do it all over again…this time on the buy side.
After, two bankrupt firms (yes, both firms went belly-up in their own ways) and a lot of dim sum, chicken rice and baijiu, I bid Asia farewell and ventured off to London Business School determined to never again work for anyone but myself.
I launched MOVE Guides while living between London and San Francisco, getting married, teaching yoga and attending London Business School.
My mother-in-law sold my husband’s truck to fund the start-up costs (I will forever be grateful for his investment and belief in me); I fund working capital by teaching yoga in the mornings and evenings; and in between, I carry a full course load at LBS.
I thought investment banking was tough. Launching MOVE Guides has been so much harder. But I have never believed in something more.
Surveys show that people find moving cities difficult (there’s nothing like setting up internet in London!) and rely on web search and personal recommendations for help.
MOVE Guides wants to change this. Content is widespread in the Google age, but who wants to search for it? Friends are helpful but who has time to sift through so many emails? So we do it for you. We’re making moving simple and stylish, providing vetted and concise recommendations from peers to save time, money and energy.
Whether you’re student or executive, recent arrival or just looking for a new maid, MOVE Guides simplifies city content and makes your life hassle-free.
Brynne Kennedy Herbert is Founder and CEO of MOVE Guides Ltd. For more on moving cities, check out MOVE Guides on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.