For a while, Mike Williams had been paying attention to how his friends in the music industry looked for, compared, and booked studio time. They relied heavily on their networks and sent text messages to find out about available studios, rents, and equipment. He thought there had to be a better way to do it.
Mike did some online research, and to his surprise, he didn't find anyone who was trying to solve the same problem. That’s when he came up with an ambitious concept: "Studiotime, an Airbnb for music studios."
As the founder of a fast-growing startup, Codeity, Mike knew that Studiotime would need to be a passion project.
"That's why I decided I could only spend one evening building it. Even though I had no idea if setting up a fully functional marketplace in one evening would even be possible.
After deciding to skip the dinner, Mike found Sharetribe. Amazingly, he was able to achieve exactly what he had wanted: the site was up and running the same evening.
On Sunday of the same week, Mike purchased the domain studiotime.io, and minutes later he launched his site by posting it to Product Hunt, an online community for discovering new products.
What happened afterward surprised him completely. It turned out that Product Hunt users loved Mike's concept.
In a matter of hours, more than 1,000 users had signed up on Studiotime.
Mike’s artist community was growing, and studios all around the world were contacting him, asking to be featured on his site.
"I even had people asking to volunteer to become ambassadors, and asking for jobs!"
You can read more about Studiotime’s launch from Mike's article on Medium.
After the successful launch and initial validation of his idea, Mike focused more on the development of the site. He started emailing his users and asking them questions: what problems were they having, what could be improved on the site, and so on.
Mike also started iterating on the business model. His initial idea was to charge a commission from each booking, Airbnb style.
However, he soon discovered that studios had their own, complex invoicing processes that were not well suited for this. He decided to lower his commission and add a subscription model.
"I already had hundreds of studios listed on Studiotime. I figured it would not be a big deal for them to pay a monthly fee for visibility on the site."
This prediction turned out to be correct, and most studios were happy to pay his fees.
After validating his idea with Sharetribe Go, Mike has since moved his platform to Sharetribe Flex.
This has allowed him to expand his platform and his feature set based on the learnings he got from his early success.
Today, Studiotime is the largest online marketplace community to rent music studios. The platform lists studios in over 35 countries and has been featured in publications such as VICE Brasil and Forbes, and even on the BBC news.
Mike now has a team to manage the site so he can also focus on his other projects. Excited about Sharetribe's potential for many aspiring entrepreneurs, he offers Sharetribe Go customization services as well as Sharetribe Flex development through his startup studio Thinkbox.io. He also recently launched Withoutcode.io, a marketplace for hiring experts for business development without code.› Check out Studiotime