The man who turned a bad night in into a multi-million dollar app

A montage of a large group of individual portraits together to form a pride flag that represents a multi-ethnic, mixed age range group.

misterb&b is a travel and social networking website that connects LGBT+ travellers with friends of the community who have rooms available.

The website encourages its hosts to make their apartments or rooms available during major LGBT events taking place in their city. It also acts as a social networking service, travel guide, and online community for gay travellers.

When hearing the name, you’d probably assume misterbnb is a bit like Airbnb.

It is similar, but it allows you to book accommodation in people’s homes as-well-as hotels.

Matthieu Jost

misterb&b co-founder Matthieu Jost had used accommodation services before, with mixed results.

misterb&b was recently chosen to be a part of the Expedia Group Accelerator program which focuses on startups and SMBs working to make the travel industry more open and accessible.

“Our goal is to empower the LGBTQ+ community to explore the world with confidence and authenticity. We understand the importance of connecting with others and feeling welcome while traveling, which is why we’ve created a platform that connects like-minded travellers and provides a supportive community.” Jost said.

“The program will help misterb&b further scale its offerings and bring our unique value proposition to more LGBTQ+ travellers globally.”

Jost says companies working in the queer space need to be genuinely interested in engaging with the community, and suggests attending LGBT travel conferences, joining organisations and educating staff.

“Branding yourself as “gay-friendly” or putting a rainbow flag on a website cannot be enough. LGBTQ+ travellers will need to feel a sincere interest, beyond the pursuit of the “pink dollar”.

For travellers, Jost says the first thing they should do is research their destination.

(iStock)

“It’s well-known that attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community vary widely across the world, with some countries embracing and celebrating LGBTQ+ culture, while others criminalize or discriminate against it.

“For example, many cities in Europe, North America, and some countries in Latin America, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, are known to have a thriving LGBTQ+ travel sector, with many hotels, bars, and tourist attractions catering to the LGBTQ+ community. These destinations often host pride events and have laws that protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

“On the other hand, some countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have laws that criminalize homosexuality, and LGBTQ+ travellers may face discrimination and even legal consequences in these places.” Jost said.

misterb&b also supports Le Refuge, a French non-profit helping find short term housing for LGBTQ+ young adults in crisis.

Le Refuge is a French non-profit helping find short term housing for LGBTQ+ young adults in crisis. (Supplied)

We believe in people, purpose and profit.” Jost said.

“For some young members of the community, being forced to stay home 24/7 with their homophobic families turned out to be very toxic, sometimes violent and finding a safe place for them was essential.

“After we reached out to our community, many misterb&b hosts answered our call for help and offered their accommodation to LGBTQ+ teens in crisis for free. Thanks to their solidarity, we have been able to provide emergency housing for almost a dozen young people.”

Jost has been ranked one of the top 100 most inspirational and influential LGBTQ+ leaders in the world by Out Magazine.

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