Not everyone who needs temporary housing is on vacation, and this Vegas startup is filling that need

Yeves Perez and Daj’Anique Staples are a couple, but they’re also business partners and the masterminds of a tech startup called Workbnb.

The couple, who have tattoos with the Workbnb logo to match, recently moved from Reno to the Summerlin area and plan to bring their company headquarters with them.

Workbnb, launched last year, is similar to the Airbnb guest rental concept, where vacationers can book short-term residential rentals through a smartphone app.

The difference with Workbnb is that it’s suitable for employers supervising workers on non-permanent, long-term jobs, such as large construction projects.

With Workbnb, employers can book housing for their workers for a month or more.

Perez, who previously worked as a freelance marketing consultant in San Diego, noticed there was an unfilled niche for short-term rentals when his mother’s small rental business in Reno began to take off several years ago. .

“My mom only had a few of these rentals, but some people with a business moving from the Bay Area to Reno loved it so much they asked for more employees to work with it,” said said Perez. “It was 2019, which was a big time for California businesses coming to Reno.”

Soon, Perez’s mother signed a contract for the use of almost two dozen apartments for company employees. She asked her son to help her build the apartments.

“She called me and said she had already bought me a plane ticket and wanted me to come and help her,” Perez said. “I figured I’d better do it if I ever wanted to come back to Thanksgiving dinner.”

Early last year, Perez registered Workbnb with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. He also took the concept through the arduous Techstars incubator program in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Workbnb now has five employees — Staples is the president — but the company could soon have as many as 25 employees, Perez said.

After growing up in Las Vegas and graduating from Centennial High School, Staples moved to Reno to attend college.

She eventually crossed paths with Perez, who convinced her to start her own short-term rental business.

“Since hearing about the company, I knew it was a great idea,” Staples said. “If I had known that at 16, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college.”

Earlier this month, Perez hosted a launch party at UNLV’s Black Fire Innovation Business Acceleration Center in Las Vegas.

When she heard about Workbnb’s story, Jamie Schwartz, director of industry and business engagement at UNLV’s Office of Economic Development, knew she wanted to know more about what she thought was an interesting business.

“I didn’t know UNLV had a host and technology incubator,” Perez said. “We met Jamie and she put us on a fast track to getting very involved.”

One of the first big breakthroughs for the company came when it helped secure a two-plus-year condo contract for a construction company manager working on a freeway expansion project in Reno.

With an array of major construction projects underway or planned for the Las Vegas area in the years to come, Perez said there is no doubt.
will be an ongoing need for temporary accommodation.

In addition to Las Vegas and Reno, Perez said he wants to expand his business into markets like Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Orlando, Florida.

Workbnb also recently launched an ad that features Staples and can be seen on some streaming services.

As African Americans, Perez and Staples said they’re proud of the concept they’re building, in part because black businesspeople have traditionally been massively underrepresented in the tech industry.

“We’re building the Workbnb empire,” Staples said. “I think what we’re doing is important because black people, and especially black women, aren’t very represented in tech.”

Perez said the couple hoped the company would gain popularity in Las Vegas.

“In Reno, we were overlooked,” Perez said. “We have not been able to have any contact with the city and with the university there. There’s a bigger tech scene here in Las Vegas, and there’s more diversity here. There is an opportunity for us and we want as much as possible; we are hungry.”

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This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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