Welcome to the “New Tech Cities” series at OSTraining.
In this series we’re talking about cities that were rundown but are re-inventing themselves, as using technology to do so. We’re trying to get to the bottom of the questions, “What does it take to turn around a struggling city?” and “Can technology help?”
Our initial focus is on the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see links to all the articles in this series.
This week we’re talking with Cameron Doody, a co-founder of GetBellhops.com.
Welcome, Cameron. Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Cameron Doody. I’m a co-founder of Bellhops. We are a tech-enabled platform for moving help that provides a nationwide, branded workforce of college students to help people move easily and affordably.
Is the basis for Bellhops as simple as this quote on your website: “Trustworthy, youthful students to handle your heavy lifting”?
We have a very simple concept: provide people with a super easy-to-book solution for getting great people to come help you move. Our systems and processes are largely rooted in technology, and allow us to provide the same great experience on every move we have. Everything from booking, to Bellhop communication, to payments and reviews.
How far can you take your business model?
We’re still very early in the game. We’re laser focused on becoming the go-to moving help resource in the country, but there are obviously other things that our workforce will allow us to get into.
Chattanooga appears to have rebuilt itself. What changes have you experienced in the city?
Pride in the city is just crazy. Everyone here knows something weird and awesome is going on. People here are part of something that isn’t happening in other cities across the country. It’s a genuine case of what happens when people care about making their city the best place in the country to live, and having local foundations and politics that do everything to support that.
How has Bellhops been involved in the city’s transformation?
I’m not sure that we have yet, other than bringing talent to our city. We’re up to 75 now at HQ and almost everyone has been imported from other cities.
True or False: Chattanooga is the coolest city in the South.
Downtown CHA is super clean, endless outdoor activities, beautiful surroundings, 1-gig internet, awesome places to live, great startup community, new bars and restaurants popping up almost weekly, great schools, world-class climbing, mountain biking, and hang-gliding, the river, the lake, local foundations pouring millions of dollars of private money into community projects, the weather, the people are amazing. It’s an incredible place, which makes recruiting a little bit easier.
Atlanta’s tech community has grown significantly in recent years. What are start-ups and tekkies missing by not coming to Chattanooga?
It’s just a completely different scene. Chattanooga is a special place, that’s all I can say. Come here for a day and experience it for yourself.
What’s next for Chattanooga and what would it take hit those goals?
Like any great startup that is experiencing success, Chattanooga just needs to keep cranking, stay true to what has brought about this incredible transformation, and one day soon the city will be a destination city for anyone in the country.