At Noirbnb, we’re taking an open-arms approach to the 21 century sharing economy model-- one that safely celebrates diversity, and is welcoming to all colors, creeds, and walks of life.
We created Noirbnb to create more space for those participating users.
While Noirbnb is dedicated to building a more inclusive, on-demand room and home rental service for the black travel market, we ultimately strive to unite an entire worldwide community of diverse globetrotters and hosts that is open and accepting to all, regardless of race, gender identity, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Welcome to Noirbnb. Your world awaits.
When entrepreneurs Stefan Grant and Ronnia Cherry rented a home in Atlanta in October 2015, they figured they’d be in for a stress-free and uneventful stay while Stefan was gearing up to perform at the local A3C Music Festival. Instead, they were greeted by a couple of police officers who turned up at the door with their guns drawn.
Stefan and Ronnia were renting the home with two other guests through Airbnb when neighbors contacted the police under the assumption that the guests were robbing the house. After clarifying the situation and taking the opportunity to snap a few selfies with the officers, it wasn’t long before the photos -- and their story -- spread like wildfire across the Internet.
Using the social media hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack, a legion of Airbnb customers have flocked to the Internet to share similar stories of encountering racial biases when using the multi-billion dollar online service. Tales rapidly surfaced of guests being denied rooms for multiple dates, only to have them suddenly become available when they used a fake profile under the guise of a white traveler. Indeed these were not isolated events.
Although Airbnb lists an anti-discrimination policy on its website, it’s still possible for hosts to refuse booking requests from travelers they either consciously or subconsciously have a bias against -- even if there’s nothing overtly discriminatory in their listing. The result? Many jetsetters, especially in the African-American community, continue to be marginalized despite representing a massive consumer segment with one of the largest collective spending powers in the United States:
As for Stefan and Ronnia, when Airbnb caught wind of their story, they flew the pair out to the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. They offered them vouchers for free future bookings and even invited suggestions for how the company could prevent future incidents. However, vouchers do not get to the root of the problem, and their ideas were not adopted to the degree they’d hoped.
The pair decided to take matters into their own hands and build a platform to offer diverse travelers a better experience that is free from concern about their safety, their acceptance and their overall comfort while on the road.
This is exactly what they are creating with Noirbnb.
Noirbnb is much more than just a web and mobile-based rental service for black world travelers. It’s also a lifestyle brand, a curated accommodation provider, and the go-to central hub for knowledge about the value of expanding horizons, and opening homes and businesses to a more diverse audience and economy.
With Noirbnb we empower black travelers to book lodgings conveniently, and with peace of mind, knowing that wherever they happen to temporarily anchor themselves in the world, they’ll be met with hospitality and warmth. Our objective is twofold: to provide a superior experience for both the renter and the host to build a more accepting and inclusive community;and to eliminate all the uncertainties around whether guests will be unfairly denied booking requests.
While open to all, Noirbnb also acts a powerful ally for black businesses. We give diverse and open-minded hosts an expanded pathway toward generating additional income. On average, white hosts tend to charge around 12% more for rentals than their black counterparts. Our platform directly appeals to these black property owners who traditionally make less than white hosts among the sharing economy. However, nonblack renters and owners are more than welcome to list their properties on Noirbnb, and they are completely free to post their listings on competing sites as well.
The Noirbnb web and mobile app will function very similarly to Airbnb’s, but our big-picture vision is to take what many of the current sharing platforms have done well and significantly improve upon them to offer our customers a better user experience, a better travel experience, and a better hosting experience across the board.
Here’s how it works:
Travelers and hosts will be able to sign up right within the app and immediately begin to locate and book rooms plus list properties, respectively. Travelers will have the option to filter their searches based on multiple criteria to yield the best results for them.
Traveling is about more than just where you stay. It’s about the entire experience. That’s why Noirbnb will go beyond your basic property curating functionality to give travelers all the resources they need to ensure they get exactly what they’re looking for in their stay. Whether traveling for pleasure, business, adventure, and more, our users will have the ability to connect with the right type of host and right type of venue to best match their individual sensibility.
From boutique hotels to privately-owned hostels, we will establish valuable partnerships in the travel industry in order to provide our users with a broader range of places to stay.
We make the start-to-finish process of searching, selecting, and booking as easy as possible for our users. On the back end, we process the booking, all of the guest payments, and ensure that hosts get paid directly through our system.
We’re not only committed to making Noirbnb as open and diverse as possible, but also as safe as possible for all users. This is why we require our renters to provide basic identification in order to run a background check, and we require hosts to have an insurance policy.
We have received a groundswell of support from the consumer community, from partners, and from interested investors alike. 2016 is poised to be a watershed year. Here’s an inside look at what we’ve accomplished so far, and at all of the exciting developments we’ve got lined up for the future:
We are currently developing our web platform and mobile app and preparing for an ongoing summer 2016 launch.
We’ve amassed over 15,000 early user signups via our landing page. We are actively signing up hosts and have listings from all over the world including:
Our userbase and social following grow daily along with registering new users everyday and helping upcoming trips and travel plans.
Patents & IP
We own trademarks to the names Noirbnb / Noirebnb.
We’re partnering with some influential names in the travel and tech space, as well as cool companies in the sharing economy such as NYC-based host concierge CozyOasis, and advanced payout company Playfully.co. Other partnerships include Thompson Hine Legal, Travel Is The New Club, My Travel Crush, 411 Maids and Black Tech Week.
We are in the process of partnering with a millennial-owned brands to introduce a global marketplace tailored to the needs of our community.
Noirbnb Is Making Headlines
Noirbnb is also gaining notoriety in some major-name press publications, including:
We also recently became verified on Twitter!
In order to ramp up brand awareness and fuel widespread customer conversion, we’re getting ready to execute launch events all across the country.
We will drive traffic to our website using word-of-mouth, social media, ambassadors, digital and print advertising, activations, destination events, experiential marketing, and strategic partnerships and alliances.
Want to learn more about how you can get involved in Noirbnb? Make sure to request access to the Business Plan tab of the profile!
Stefan Grant | CEO | https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefisdope
Stefan has a history in branding, marketing, event coordination, & entertainment. He's the founder of DOPE SINCE '88 LLC, an independent record label, and has done work with Red Bull, the Trillectro Music Festival, Broccoli City Music Festival & worked with various mainstream artists. His specialties regarding the company are ideation, product management, creative direction, & customer acquisition, just to name a few. His ability to connect to global audiences through storytelling and social media has helped grow the company in just a few short weeks.
Ronnia Cherry | CCO | https://www.linkedin.com/in/wakeupstar
Ronnia is the founder of WAKEUPSTAR LLC, an arts studio & collective based in Miami, FL. She has a history advertising, media & design, and has been building web platforms for over 15 years. She received a degree in Advertising from The Art Institute of Atlanta and was a lead project manager for Honda.com, where she was in charge of handling 6 figure budgets and wide scale teams. She's worked closely with brands such as REVOLT, Black Tech Week, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, SLS Luxe Hotels and more. She has experience in real estate design & marketing, and is a former Airbnb host & traveler, with knowledge of the entire platform.
Sarah Young | Creative Director | sarahhunyyoung.com
Sarah Huny Young is an award-winning Creative Director and sixteen-year veteran of the web design industry. Born in Denver and bred in New York City, she previously enjoyed successful senior and director tenures at BET/Viacom, VIBE Magazine, and UltraStar (founded by the late, great David Bowie) before moving to Pittsburgh to form start-up agency Supreme Clientele. In addition to SCDA, Sarah also currently serves as Creative Director for the arts and culture magazine 1839.
Courtney Welch | Director of Customer Experience |
Courtney Welch is an Oakland, California native, amateur blogger, and founder of Courtney Consulting Agency, where she specializes in virtual assisting, customer support, and company development small business entrepreneurs. Courtney has an extensive background in customer service through positions she has held in the retail, food services, and hospitality fields. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree through Hampton University and is in the process of launching a podcast based on her blog, Passing Judgement. Courtney resides in San Diego, CA with her son, Caleb.
Jide Ehimika | Director of Strategy and Tech |
Jide is a technology and business strategist who loves solving interesting problems. He provides tech solutions for global organizations, and his travels allow him the opportunity to explore the noir experience in a variety of different cultures. Jide received a degree in Finance from Temple University and a MSc from the Skema Business School in France. Prior to Noirbnb he worked with Fortune 500 companies, Global Finance Institutions and US Government Agencies, holding technology positions with the World Bank Group, USAID, CIT Financial and Fannie Mae.
Gabriela Blanco | Media Executive |
Gabriela is a multimedia creative with 5+ years experience in multimedia journalism, event production, and executive administration management. She specializes in curating content and social media management for accounts such as@BlackTechWeek and @Wakeupstar. Her natural approach to publishing the works of creative professionals propelled her to collaborate with Wakeupstar Media to encourage people to read and write more. Sitting as an EIC, she is set to release 7AMMAG, an online zine for creative professional and marketplace with a biannual collector’s item in winter 2016. Her love for afro-futurism and passion to globally share the narratives of creative professionals interested her pleasantly serve as Media Director for Noirbnb.
Eric Osiakwan | Managing Partner of Chanzo Capital. Eric co-founded Angel Africa List and Angel Fair Africa. He has worked in 32 African countries setting up ISPs, ISPAs, IXPs and high-tech startups. He Co-Foundered Angel Africa List, Angel Fair Africa and currently serves on the board of Farmerline, Forhey, Teranga Solutions, Siqueries, Arifu, Wanjo Foods, Ghana Cyber City, WABco, Seed Engine and Appfrica – some of which are his investment. He was invited to contribute ideas to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa and helped bring internet to Africa in the 90s. Eric is a Stanford, MIT, Harvard, TED and Poptech fellow.
Joseph Ellis | Senior Vice President at Wells Fargo. Throughout Ellis’ 21 year tenure with Wells Fargo, he has held roles with increasing responsibility across multiple business lines and customer segments. Prior to being named to Wells Fargo Education Financial Services February of 2016; Ellis led Strategy, Marketing and the Partnership with Community Banking for the Great Lakes and Great Plains Regions of Wells Fargo’s Merchant Services business. Before being named to Wells Fargo Merchant Services May of 2014, Ellis was the Pacific Division and Centralized Leader for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage’s Renovation business. Preceding the Renovation business, he served as a National Sales Development Consultant for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Ellis holds Oxford University’s Postgraduate Degree in Organizational Leadership.
David Willbrand | Mr. David J. Willbrand, J.D. is a General Counsel at SaaS Capital, Inc. and a Partner at Thompson Hine LLP. He represents entrepreneurs, emerging companies, early-stage investors, and venture capital funds. His unique background combines corporate, securities, compensation, and intellectual property legal expertise. He served in the software and Internet industry for four years as the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Bluespring Software, Inc., and ePALS.com, Inc., respectively. He is a frequent speaker on venture capital, entrepreneurship, and mergers and acquisitions and is quite active in the region. Mr. Willbrand has been named by Cincinnati Magazine as one of the most powerful and influential people in the region, and he has been recognized in the venture capital law category of The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2007. Mr. Willbrand holds A.B. from Harvard College.
Dr. Imani J. Walker | Dr. Walker specializes in Forensic Psychiatry and treats high-risk and inner-city populations. She has been a physician for the past twelve years and is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, the top HBCU for placing Black graduates into medical schools. She is currently medical director of a psychiatric hospital and mental health center in Los Angeles. In addition to medicine, Dr. Walker is a skilled writer on mental illness and pop culture who has contributed to Gawker, TheRoot.com and several other publications. Her love of travel and desire for fairness for people of color piqued her interest in Noirbnb and she is pleased in her role as an advisory board member.
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