Where should you live? This app will tell you
Some people struggle to figure out where to live. Or where to work. They might benefit from Teleport. It is a website. It is also an app. It recommends cities based on your lifestyle.
Teleport grew out of the founding team’s own experiences. They were living in various cities around the world. They often worked remotely. They worked across cities. They worked across time zones. They worked in North America. They worked in Europe. And they worked in Asia.
The software company began with Teleport Cities. It is constantly expanding its product line. It is a service. It uses big data. It determines where an individual should be based. They are tight-lipped when it comes to specifics about the algorithm.
The group has developed tools. One such tool is Teleport Runway. It helps compare the costs of starting and running a small business. It looks at various locations. Another tool is Teleport Directory. It is a resource list. It helps find services and people in your next home city. It provides international moving checklists. It also provides blueprints for how to manage professional teams remotely.
Teleport is currently based in Palo Alto, Calif. Sten Tamkivi is a Teleport co-founder. He is also CEO. He shared his story with Smithsonian.com.
Where did the idea for Teleport originate?
“Teleport definitely grew out of personal pains.” He has two co-founders. They are Silver Keskküla and Balaji Srinivasan. Between them they had already lived in a dozen countries.
“I personally had spent a large part of my career running teams spread between multiple cities. Most of our team knows the struggles of moving around all too well.”
Tamkivi said there are many parts of staying informed about your next location. And also in knowing what steps you need to take. He said these include the hours of research. It may mean opening 29 browser tabs at a time. It includes the lack of credible information. And it includes trying to remember everything that is important to you and whoever you’re moving with.
“Half of our team previously worked at Skype. It also plays a huge part in both what we are building as well as how we are doing it. Basically, if at Skype we were making the world a smaller place in metaphorical sense, at Teleport, we are getting to the next stage and moving people around physically. By the time we had 200 people, we already had 10 locations. So every week, there were some questions about where to hire the next people and where to open the next office.”
What’s the elevator pitch?
“Teleport moves people to their best place to live and work. It considers their personal needs. And preferences. We help you plan your life across the current and future cities you want to work and live in.”
He said it also helps people get in touch. You can reach out to communities. You can reach out to employers. And you can reach out to governments. These all help you make the next move.
What’s the user experience for Teleport Cities?
“You tell us about yourself. You choose the life quality aspects that are important to you. And you reveal a little bit about your financial situation. This includes your area of work. And monthly rent budget.”
Teleport Cities uses this information. It gives you a list of cities. They match your preferences. It includes a breakdown. It is of your match score. And it includes budget differences compared to your current city. You can change your info. You can also add or remove some life quality settings. These may help you get a more accurate match list.
“Once you’re happy with your preferences, you can go ahead and explore your top cities. Our city profile pages contain a huge amount of interactive widgets. They break down information about every quality of life aspect in that city that you could possibly imagine.”
Tamkivi said data is nice. However he said local experience is also great. If you have other questions there is another feature. It’s called Ask a Local. It is easily accessible. There’s one for each city profile. Users can ask locals about living in a particular city.
What is the geographic range? Is it limited to certain cities, with plans of expanding to others?
“It’s completely global. We kind of even ignore countries as a division on a map. We think of cities or urban areas everywhere as our unit of management. We started out with the 100 most creative cities around the world. And now we have reached 265. We add new cities based on user votes. We do this to avoid our own bias. And to make sure our product is as versatile as possible.”
A third of Teleport users come from Europe. Another third are from North America. The remaining third are from other places. South America and Asia make up most of this third. Teleport has a quarter of a million accounts signed up. It has carried out more than a million searches. That was in 2016.
What types of preferences can a user select in a search?
“There are about 300 different data dimensions involved in the product.”
Tamkivi said there are some more popular examples. Those include cost of living. It includes quality of education. It includes tolerance towards minorities. It includes environmental quality. It includes cultural activities. It includes job availability. It includes labor regulations. And it includes economic growth.