19 April 2017
Two young students from the Politecnico di Milano and one from the city’s State University: three long-term friends who combined an ingenious idea with the right skill set to create the revolutionary and promising startup, Zzzleepandgo.
The heroes of our story are Matteo Anthony Destantini, Nicolas Montonati and Alberto Porzio, although introductions may not be necessary as their high-tech, low-cost cabins for resting at the airport are already famous.
We met them to find out all the secrets of the “thrust” that launched them at high speed into the world of innovative entrepreneurship.
The idea came to us on a journey, after a tedious wait at the airport for a delayed flight. We realised that there was no accommodation service yet on offer in the proximity of the key points and so, when we got back, we decided to try to develop a new formula to meet the need to rest for a few hours while awaiting departure, thus filling a genuine gap in the market.
That was when the most creative part of the project began: using their savings and the skills of the group’s architect, Nicolas, they created an initial prototype for their sleeping cabin, a small room measuring 3.6 m² equipped with everything a traveller needs in order to relax and rest in total peace while waiting for their plane to depart.
"Thanks to the prototype, we were able to refine our idea win the first round of financing: 120 thousand euros which permitted us to begin production and enter the market with the first three cabins, installed at Milan Orio al Serio Airport before the security checks."
After just one year, Matteo, Nicolas and Alberto saw their dream come true, although not without significant obstacles, not least of which was the challenge of entering a complex and delicate environment such as an airport with an unknown company and only their wits and conviction to guide them.
Their strength was their perfect blend of skills: Matteo, a Management Engineering student at the Politecnico di Milano specialising in International Business, conceived and structured a perfect business plan while Nicolas, a graduate in Building Architecture, also from the “Polimi”, used his technical skills to create a person-friendly product, and Alberto, an International Relations student at the State University, took care of the more operational and bureaucratic side of things. They were then joined by a programmer, Angelo Iacubino, who was required to deal with the entire IT side since the cabins are fully automated and remotely managed.
Zzzleepandgo’s success at Milan Bergamo Airport showed us that we were on the right track: in one year, we had more than 3,400 check-ins with an average turnover of 26 thousand euros per cabin. Each cabin was occupied for 93% of the time, with an average stay of 2 hours 23 minutes during the day and 4 hours 45 minutes at night.
And so, in January 2017, with an increase in share capital to 400 thousand euros, a further four cabins landed in Milan Malpensa Airport. The boys are already negotiating with two more large Italian Airports and will be attempting to franchise their business to enable them to expand abroad for 2018.
We have the wind in our sails and no intention of stopping. In order diversify our business, we are also planning to create a capsule hostel in the very heart of Milan, aimed at young people staying in the city for two or three days. The format will be futuristic in comparison to traditional hostels, with greater privacy and the opportunity to socialise and create events using an internal social network. In the future, a European network of social hotels could even spring up based on the layout of our cabins.
Good job boys and full speed ahead!