About Uscout: fostering a creative community while scaling a shared economy platform
Uscout is a global shared economy platform to list and discover unique spaces for creative projects. Frustrated by corporate rental models, Uscout was formed with the intention of building a platform that would put the power back in the hands of the creator.
Uscout allows Creatives to choose from a myriad of unique locations, from the glamorous and the historic, to the eccentric. Our ethos is that if you can imagine it, we can connect you to it.
For property owners, Uscout provides a convenient way to showcase and monetize their space through hourly or daily rentals. Our commitment to the property owner is to connect them with a vast network of consumers looking to fulfill their location needs.
Whether a property owner wants to earn some extra money or a furniture collector needs to supplement their addiction to Danish modernism we’ve got them covered.
We believe that booking the perfect location should be an efficient, no hassle process, so that Creatives can focus on what’s really important: creating their best work.
What moment or experience inspired you to start your own company?
I have an innate love for the arts, entertainment and technology. As an independent producer and writer with extensive real estate rental knowledge, starting Uscout was a no-brainer.
In my corporate job at an acquisitions company, I was tasked with coming up with a way to create cash flow to help offset holding costs of our properties. I developed and launched a successful campaign for short-term use of our properties by renting to filmmakers and photographers.
As short-term vacation rentals are outlawed in more and more cities across the country homeowners are looking for a new way to earn extra income. On average owners will earn twice as much revenue for half the amount of time with Uscout versus a traditional vacation rental site.
I quickly developed a rapport and trust within the entertainment industry. Studios and independent Creatives alike know they can count on Uscout for unparalleled service and discretion. Uscout has worked with many established companies including Netflix, CBS, Vogue, E! Channel, Warner Brothers, just to name a few.
We are emotionally invested in each booking that comes through our platform. We also frequently showcase Creative’s work shot in our locations on social media.
Did you ever doubt yourself or face significant challenges starting out?
Uscout is a bootstrapped company, which is scary and liberating at the same time. I have declined initial offers from investors and VCs in order to maintain the creative mission and integrity of Uscout. That’s not to say the down the road if the right fit comes along we won’t accept outside investors.
One of our most significant challenges has been the delayed programming of core functions and launch of the site. I’ve learned a lot about the extent of due diligence needed when hiring programmers to help build a website of this stature.
The messages we’ve received from around the world inquiring about Uscout coming to their country or city has kept us motivated and inspired to build something great.
What Makes Uscout stand out from the competition?
At Uscout we genuinely care about fostering and feeding the creative community. Uscout’s passion for providing the industry with the best locations is authentic and comes from the heart.
Filmmakers and photographers generally have a strict budget and schedule to adhere to. We are available every step of the way in case of any misfires. We care more about cultivating long-term relationships with the users of Uscout than making a quick buck.
I also always put myself in the owner’s shoes as I was at one time a one-woman show managing 200 multi-million properties for a multi-billion dollar company. There are certain risks a owner must ponder before listing. We do our best to minimize those risks by vetting all renters, verifying properties and in some cases requiring a deposit.
What does “success” look like for your company five years from now?
We have received international attention and would like to scale quickly worldwide, while maintaining our virtue and purpose to fulfill a void in the creative world.
As an advocate for good, I’d like to see Uscout in a position five years from now to give a minimum of 10% of our profits to organizations helping at-risk youth, promoting equality for all and combating homelessness.
I once read a company’s culture IS the business plan and we heed to that motto. Down to the images we use on our website, to the way we treat each of our users, cultivating a company and community that’s diverse, inclusive, and equitable is our top priority.