Where should you live? This app will tell you
Some people struggle to figure out where to live and work. They might benefit from Teleport. It is a website and app. It recommends cities based on your lifestyle.
Teleport grew out of the founding team’s own experiences living in various cities around the world. They often worked remotely. They worked across cities and time zones. They worked in North America, Europe and Asia.
The software company began with Teleport Cities. It is constantly expanding its product line. It is a service that uses big data. It determines where an individual should be based. They are tight-lipped when it comes to specifics about the algorithm.
Since then, the group has developed tools. One such tool is Teleport Runway. It helps compare the costs of starting and running a small business in various locations. Another tool is Teleport Directory. It is a resource list for finding services and people in your next home city. It also provides international moving checklists and blueprints for how to manage professional teams remotely.
Teleport is currently based in Palo Alto, Calif. Sten Tamkivi is a Teleport co-founder and CEO. He shared his story with Smithsonian.com.
Where did the idea for Teleport originate?
“Teleport definitely grew out of personal pains,” Tamkivi said. He has two co-founders, Silver Keskküla and Balaji Srinivasan. Between them, they have lived in a dozen countries already.
“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 aspects to trying to stay informed about your next location and steps you need to take. He said these include the hours of research. You may even have 29 browser tabs open at a time. It also includes the lack of credible information and 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.”
Tamkivi also said Teleport will help you get in touch with various people. These might include communities, employers and governments. They will all help you to 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 to give you a list of cities. The cities match your preferences. This includes a breakdown of your match score. And it includes budget differences compared to your current city. If you’d like, you can change your info. Or you can can add or remove some life quality settings to 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,” said Tamkivi.
He explains that while data is nice, local experience is also great. If you have other questions, there is also an Ask a Local community feature. The feature can be accessed from 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, both to avoid our own bias and to make sure our product is as versatile as possible,” said Tamkivi.
A third of Teleport users come from Europe while another third are from North America. The remaining third hail from everywhere else, but are mostly from South America and Asia. Teleport has a quarter of a million accounts signed up and has executed over a million searches in 2016.
What types of preferences can a user select in a search?
“There are about 300 different data dimensions involved in the product,” said Tamkivi.
He expanded on that says that some of the most popular examples include cost of living and quality of education. They include tolerance towards minorities and environmental quality. They include cultural activities and job availability. They also include labor regulations and economic growth.