By Daniella Emanuel
It’s no longer taboo to share our homes or our cars with people we don’t know. Here, in a 2-part series, NYCity Lens explores two of the newest entries into the city’s sharing economy. Click here for part two.
By Daniella Emanuel
Napping is set to join dating and eating on the ever-growing list of human needs that can be satisfied by a few taps on a phone screen.
You can find a place to stay on vacation, call a cab and figure out where to eat all from your cell. Now, Nappr, an app planned to launch in October, will let users who need a place to nap find people who have a room with a bed to rent out for a few hours. The target Audience is American workers, of whom 30 percent are sleep deprived, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“Right now there’s this concept of if someone’s napping they’re being lazy,” said Jared Lerner, a 31-year-old software engineer and CEO of Nappr. “I don’t want that to be the notion.”
Lerner said this idea was inspired by his personal struggles with sleep and seeing his friends in the workforce suffer from exhaustion. The initial step in promoting Nappr will be to put up ads to educate the public about the benefits of napping, which include productivity, happiness and a lower risk of illness, he said. Lerner thinks companies will be on board with Nappr once they see how it improves the work habits of employees, he said.
But Lerner admits that the biggest challenge he faces is figuring out how to make napping a trend among workers in New York City, which is the first metropolitan area the app will be marketed towards.
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Lerner said.
Lerner said he is running Nappr alone in New York with the occasional aid of a business adviser, although he has a chief technology officer in India who is working on the development of the app. When the app launches, users will set their own prices and Nappr will profit five dollars from each nap.
Before Lerner started working on Nappr, he spoke to at least 1,000 people to see what they thought of the idea. Most of the people he talked to seemed excited about it, he said.
Bobby Nijjar, a 29-year-old startup consultant, said the startup he works at and many others are starting to have dedicated nap rooms in their offices. He said he sees this as an indication that Nappr could be successful.
“I’m someone who is perpetually sleep-deprived,” Nijjar said. “Sometimes I realize that it’s good for me to take some naps during the day if I have some downtime, so I think it’s an excellent idea.”
Michelle Chao, 32, works in finance on Wall Street and lives in Midtown, which can be up to a 45-minute commute. It would be extremely convenient, she said, if she could just go somewhere near her office and sleep for an hour during her workday.
But de-stigmatizing napping in the business world is likely to be the biggest hurdle, said Arjun Kathuria, a 30-year-old consultant.
“I would not want to call my colleagues and say I was gone for an hour and I was taking a nap,” he said.
Nappr also needs to distinguish itself from other sharing economy apps that rent and provide spaces for personal use, says CEO Lerner. Competition includes the well-known Airbnb and a newer app called Breather, which focuses on offering meeting spaces for work-related purposes.
But Lerner thinks he has that figured out too. Nappr will let users choose what kind of bed they want to take a snooze in, because listings will include what type of bed and how big it is. When users peruse the app, a pillow icon on the display will symbolize an available napping location, he said.
John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison are just some of the influential figures known to have enjoyed a good nap, according to The National Sleep Foundation. Time will tell if other hard-working Americans will hop on the napping bandwagon.