Like many entrepreneurs, our story begins with annoying children. Of course, we’re talking about ourselves - Jason, from Albany, NY, and Bao from Richmond, VA. For those who know us, it’s no surprise that we were both classic ‘why’ kids… as in “Mommy, why do dogs have fur? Why do we do it that way? Why this? Why that?” You get the picture. Formal apologies to our parents are forthcoming.
We were both brought up in neighborhoods full of other young families. Weekends were spent with dozens of people, neighbors and family alike, telling stories over food and drinks while the ‘why’ kids we’re busy puzzling over new and improved ways to create havoc in someone’s yard. Needless to say, it led us both to a deep appreciation of community.
That love of community set us both independently on the path to real estate development where we could build high-rises that would have a positive lasting impact on our neighborhoods and create financial upside for investors.
In 2011, we met while volunteering for a real estate development organization. We immediately bonded over a love for high-rise construction, a passion for solving complex problems and a disdain for inefficiency. Since then, we’ve awkwardly danced (another story for another time) our friendship through many different phases of life and have built families of our own. In 2017, we left our corporate jobs to begin WhyHotel.
Yes, we are building a business that solves real estate inefficiencies, but ultimately, WhyHotel enables us to host people in better places by blurring the line between hospitality and home. Today, where you see cranes in the sky and empty buildings, we see opportunity for communities to thrive. We’re still those ‘why’ children at heart, and it’s that curiosity and desire to learn and improve that drives us to deliver a better experience.
Because, WHY HOTEL when you can have a place like home?