The Georgian version of Airbnb was born when 3 friends went on a trip to the mountains and had a very hard time finding a proper spot to stay.
They decided to take action and created Megzuri, the go-to accommodation app that curates and verifies every place in person.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I think the title of my book would be “How to make things, break them and fix them again”.
Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Givi. I’m a designer and a programmer, and I started Megzuri which is a booking website for homes, hotels, and hostels in Georgia.
About the business 💼
How did you come up with your business idea?
So me and my friends, we were trying to find a place to stay in Bakuriani in the mountains in Georgia and the process turned out to be really long and surprisingly difficult. We had to go through a friend of a friend of a relative or something like that. So we thought making a booking website where it would be super easy to book a place would be a good idea.
How do you handle investors and funding issues in your business?
So we’re pretty new. At the moment we’re completely self funded, But we have a second company and agency where we use some of the same resources from our startup to build web-in marketing campaigns for other companies and we use some of that income to fund Megzuri.
Did you have a partner when you started your business? How did you choose him/her?
So I started Megzuri with two of my friends. Saba, he’s another developer and we code together. We always had the same hobbies and passions so it was kind of a perfect fit. And my other friend Gulo, we worked together for a few years in a different job. She’s a finance expert, and she just kind of completes a team.
How will your product change the market?
I hope that it will make traveling and staying in Georgia a lot easier, and it will attract a lot more travelers ad will bring more income to local hosts.
What makes a good business opportunity?
I think it’s something that I would use personally for myself, and I really wish it existed and it doesn’t. And I can make it and other people would also benefit from it. That for me is a perfect business opportunity.
What were you doing before this?
I was working in London at Universal Music, making marketing campaigns for different artists.
Where do you think you got your entrepreneurial spirit from?
I think I’ve always just like to solve problems and improve existing things, so that kind of lends itself to being or becoming an entrepreneur.
Describe a regular day in your life
A regular day in my life… I think I wake up and I start coding and I go to sleep, and I’m still coding. But in between, I work with my friends and co-founders. We’re a small team, so we kind of do everything together and ourselves. We’re getting in touch with the hosts. We’re answering people on social media, we’re doing all the advertising ourselves and so on.
How do you handle frustration and stress?
I think when the frustration builds up, you just kind of have to take a step away from it. Clear your head, go out for a walk, maybe take a day off, and just come back to it with a clear head and just keep going.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I love music a lot, so I’d probably be doing something in music.
Who believes in you? What would they say about you?
My grandma believes in me, and I think she’d say I spend too much time in front of the computer.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
I try to work on the things that I’m not so good at. I try to learn as much as I can. I I also try to face things that I think are challenging, such as doing interviews.
How do you balance work and personal life?
I think that’s always really tricky. But I have friends who like to go out and do things, so I just rely on them to drag me away from work.
Resources & Creative Process 💡
What motivates you?
I love being in a position where I can work for myself and run my own company and I think that’s a lot of motivation.
What are your hidden inspiration sources?
My hidden inspiration source would have to be YouTube.
This might sound silly, but there’s a lot of amazing content and videos over there for programmers and entrepreneurs. And I think a lot of people don’t realize that you could change your entire career just by watching YouTube.
What entrepreneurs do you admire and why?
There’s this guy in the music world called Steve Duda and he wrote and kind of programmed this software synthesizer called Serum. The reason I kind of admire him is that he taught himself how to program from scratch. And he built a small team around it and now has one of the most popular pieces of software on the market in the music world.
What hacks do you use to keep yourself focused and productive?
So this might not be great advice for anyone, but I sometimes, from once in a while, stay up really late at night just so I can get a lot of work done in a short space of time without any distractions. I think I kind of get my best work done when I have a long period of time that I’m completely focused on just one thing.
What are your top 3 websites or apps that you can’t imagine your day without?
Slack for communication, Google Keep for all my notes and VS Code for programming.
What book/podcast would you recommend?
I’d recommend a Stephen Hawking’s, a Brief History of Time, anything by Alan Watts and Norwegian Wood by [Haruki] Murakami, which is one of my very favorite books.
These aren’t startup or entrepreneurial books, but I think it’s kind of important to keep in perspective open and read about other things to kind of inform yourself about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Amusing Questions 🤣
Who would be in your advisors board if you could choose from any character, real or fictional? Why?
I think I could probably come up with a list of entrepreneurs, but I think I really just wanna have Alan Watts on it, just to keep everything peaceful and zen.
About Georgia 🇬🇪
How does your business contribute to the local community?
Through Megzuri we’re trying to give hosts locally ‒not just in the big cities but in lesser developed regions in areas of Georgia‒ an international digital presence.
We try to help them set up their listings, take good photos of their places, and provide that service for free just so that we can attract more travelers and kind of boost the income of the local communities and people who are renting throughout Georgia.
What do you think about the startup scene in Georgia?
As far as I can tell, there’s an up and coming startup scene in Georgia. I’m not really sure about how many funding opportunities there are, maybe we’re kind of lacking a centralized source of information where we can see what’s going on. But overall, I think it’s the right place to be.
What are the pros and cons of setting up a business in Georgia?
The pros are that it’s super cheap and easy to start a company here and you’re in a perfect location to kind of work from or base your company from while you provide your services anywhere in the world. As far as the cons scope, so far I can’t really think of any.
How do you see Georgia in 10 years?
It’s really hard to say what it will actually look like in 10 years’ time, but I think it’s kind of turning into this tech hub. There are a lot more developers and designers and entrepreneurs, and startup companies here now and growing fast.
I think the rest of the world will kind of discover its potential.
Where can we go to learn more from you and your company?
You can go to Megzuri.ge and it kind of tells you everything, what the company is about, what we do. There’s this little about section that has a bit more information about us and the co-founders on the team.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’m really happy that you guys are doing this, and I think it’s a really cool idea. I’m excited to see what everybody else is up to and find out more about other startup companies in Georgia.