Uniplaces – making life a little easier for those flying the nest

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Becoming a student can be a stressful experience, particularly if it involves moving away from home. Uniplaces aims to provide students with a fast and secure way to book accommodation in new cities. Follow Innovation spoke to Ben Grech, Co-Founder, to learn more about how they are working to improve the student experience.

“We turn a long, confusing and stressful process into something that can be done in a few clicks. We enable students to secure accommodation in a city they haven’t arrived to yet, where they may not even speak the language. Uniplaces gives them peace of mind.

I think the fact that we’re not a purely transactional company helps us stand out. We’re not about getting bookings, we’re about enriching the student experience. We’ll invest in programs like the Uniplaces Scholarship to help break barriers that hold international students back. We’re a company full of people who identify with and believe in this mission, which gives us a great sense of purpose,” said Ben.

The process for a student is simple; enter your city of choice along with your arrival and departure dates and you are given a list of available properties. Each of these comes with a comprehensive breakdown of details and rental conditions along with pictures and a map.

Currently, bookings can be made in any of the following countries: the UK, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany and Poland. We asked Ben what the journey had been like to get here:

“We witnessed the development of online marketplaces for the travel industry, home services and transport. Yet technology seemed to have neglected students, one of the most tech-savvy communities!

We were sat around a kitchen table reflecting on our own experience as students and recognised the need for students everywhere to have a fast and secure way to book their accommodation. It became obvious that this was a problem needing to be solved, so Uniplaces was born.

Growth was explosive: it took us nearly two years to expand to three different countries (a city per country), we made it to six new countries in less than a year after that and we’re now trying to double that in the next six months.”

Uniplaces has a number of partnerships to help provide students with an enhanced experience; QS and CEMS have been long-term partners and they recently closed agreements with ESN international and StudyPortals. This summer, they are also launching the second phase of the Uniplaces Scholarship:

“Beneficiaries of the Uniplaces Scholarship get a whole semester’s accommodation paid for, wherever in the world they happen to be – whether this is Kent or somewhere in Kyrgyztan.”

The priority for the immediate future is to consolidate the position within the European market, both by expanding to new countries and developing presence within existing markets.

“Our Utopia would be a world without barriers, borders and bureaucracy so students can study wherever they wish to and have the best possible experience. The student experience is life changing and we want to help make it as good as possible. If students around the world see Uniplaces as a positive part of that, we have done our job” concluded Ben.