by Akobir Azamovich
My apartment is my fortress. The cozy bedroom, the reassuringly sturdy desk and the scent of Tajiki cooking all tell me I’m home. Here in “Little Tajikistan,” I’m only a 15 minute walk from where I attended college, but it’s an entire world away when it comes to living conditions.
When you get accepted to college, you expect it to be a glorious, transformative experience, with a school as photogenic as any movie montage. There should be beautifully decorated lecture halls where brilliant and famous professors lecture you while inspirational music swells in the background.
Instead, I got sleepless nights on a stranger’s couch while I frantically hunted for anything close to campus I could afford to live in. Loud roommates and impenetrable lease language filled my days and nights under the flickering light bulbs. My grades fell while I commuted 30 miles to school a day and worked at a restaurant all night to pay tuition.
I thought things were turning up when my childhood best friend Faridun Nazarov moved in with me. Despite the mountain of paperwork we had to sift through, with blind excitement we signed a beautiful three bedroom apartment with wonderful roommates. Our paychecks evaporated into thin air as we realized that it’s important to have running water to shower and forks and knives to eat. Then everything fell apart when our seemingly wonderful roomates skipped town. Faridun and I were left with all the expenses. We couldn't afford the apartment by ourselves and fell into debt.
Once you’re in school, you should be able to focus on that experience, not the horrors of the housing market. The 70 percent of students who live off-campus because of limited rooms and prohibitive costs can’t get much help from the school either.
Student credit isn’t usually enough to get a place anywhere reasonable though, and using Craigslist is a full-time job on its own.
But, don’t despair! Lose your Craigslist browser window immediately, because now me & Faridun and the wonderful team of ex-students who went through the housing challenges have launched 4Stay, marketplace for student housing, and now your hunt for a home at school is over.
Don’t believe us? Take a Product Tour.
Akobir Azamovich’s area of expertise covers technology startups, innovation and education, and social entrepreneurship. He has extensive entrepreneurial experience, co-founding three companies, including STP Housing Solutions, a company that has rented more than 10,000 beds and has generated more than $10+ million in revenue. He was a co-founder of multi-investment company A&F Partners, which invests in early stage companies. They have invested in numerous startups in the United States, Indonesia, and Tajikistan. He is a member of the Wharton Angel Network and Collaborative Alumni Angels Group (CAAG). He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Economics from Strayer University.