Monday, 18 August 2014

Germans Anna and Lucas win Pandabed's #BestInternship

Anna Riedel and Lucas Thomas Jahn

Pandabed has announced the winners of its popular "#BestInternship in the World" campaign. German students Anna Riedel and Lucas Thomas Jahn of Technical University, Dresden, Germany were declared winners.

Co-founder of Pandabed, Lester Kang told me what made Anna and Lucas' application standout was their language skills. Between the two of them, they are fluent in German, Russian and English. Their existing popularity on social media and their video editing skills also helped in their selection.

Lucas runs a popular YouTube channel, Jahn Productions, it has over 2500 subscribers. Almost all of the content is in English and features photography and travel.

Pandabed Co-founder, James Chua, added that they plan to run #BestInternship every year now, and hopefully have an internship opportunity every quarter with multiple teams.

On its blog section Pandabed does offer bloggers an opportunity to get free stays at their properties across Asia for writing reviews. Travel blogger Sabrina of recently wrote about her stay in a traditional Hanok Village in Seoul.

On the surface, Pandabed is the Asian version of AirBnb but there are subtle differences. Most of Pandabed properties are managed residences with professional property managers. This ensures quality and avoids unwanted surprises. Secondly, since they are focused on Asia, they have added features to cater to Asian hosts and guests, one example of this is 'peer match'. Another Asian alternative to AirBnB, TravelMob was bought by HomeAway for $30 million in July last year.

Pandabed is incubated and mentored by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at Singapore Management University (SMU). The one year old Singapore based startup has over 8,000 holiday homes on its site. Since it's start it has been growing at over 300% month-on-month.

Anna and Lucas application video:

Here is a video from Lucas made with GoPro, according to PandaBed founders, it's his technical skills and experience in creating travel based content that got them selected.

Other notable applications were Leana van der Meijden from the Netherlands and Mildka Hairani Silviana from Indonesia. They both will get PandaBed vouchers worth $300 each.

Leana's video:

Mildka's video:

Everyone who applied gets a $35 voucher. 

Pandabed needs to engage with independent bloggers and content creators to take on AirBnb and its massive marketing budget. So far it does seem to be working. Not bad for two guys who based in a single room office above a yoga studio in Boat Quay.

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