About

Team SleepOut

Founded in June 2012 on the Indian Ocean island of Lamu, SleepOut.com provides a secure accommodation marketplace connecting travellers looking for a cool place to stay, with Hosts and their empty beds.

On SleepOut you will find an amazing variety of unique accommodation options. Use SleepOut to book your next holiday or business trip and make real connections with international and local Hosts throughout Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, and the Middle East.

Whether it’s a beach hut, mud castle, tented camp, tree house or hotel room you’re looking for, SleepOut caters to every budget with accommodation in even the most remote tourist destinations.

Team SleepOut now has offices in Mauritius and Kenya. Our customer support in Nairobi is precisely here.

The SleepOut Story

It all started on a small island of 20,000 inhabitants and 3,000 donkeys. In 2011, Canada-born Johann Jenson together with his girlfriend Ayako Bertolli built a hobby site for Lamu Island, Kenya. They began by taking photos of some of the most beautiful homes they had ever seen on the most unique and diverse little island anyone had ever seen.

After photographing many of the homes, they made it their goal to include on a single website all of the small island’s accommodation Hosts offering hotels, beach huts, castles, luxury villas, and resorts.

Within months the site was growing quickly and Johann who was still working at the United Nations wanted to try the idea elsewhere. Mikul Shah offered to help build a larger community of Guests and Hosts throughout Kenya to which Johann said, "hey why not" since Mikul had already done what many thought was impossible by creating the first ever online restaurant booking service in Kenya.

If you have travelled extensively in Africa or the Middle East, you may have noticed that pricing for accommodation has always been artificially high. The founders, who like many travellers, didn’t like overpaying for a place to stay noticed that there must be a way to improve efficiency given the inconsistency between low occupancy rates (usually around 25%) and high pricing.

With some tweaks here and there the team found a balance that added impressive efficiency to the traditional booking process and began working with new accommodation Hosts throughout the region on what later became the SleepOut.com platform.

In late 2012, Zimbabwe-born Paul Schwarz joined the team. Paul rebuilt the software from scratch for the relaunch of SleepOut.com. In fact, as you read this he is probably debugging and toiling away with our team of developers creating the region’s premier accommodation marketplace.

Join Team SleepOut in building a more human travel experience, one bed at a time. Tell us what you think and #occupyemptybeds.