Making expats’ moving and life less stressful and more successful –

  • 2024-07-04
  • Linas Jegelevicius

Life as an expat has led Orazio Salvini, the founder of,  a platform that connects expats with reliable business and professionals, to fascinating destinations – from Egypt and Tanzania to Malta, New York, and, most recently, to Estonia. “Living as an expat in various countries has profoundly shaped who I am, both personally and professionally. Each place I've lived, from Egypt to Estonia, has taught me valuable lessons about navigating different business cultures and adapting to new ways of life. This experience has given me a broad set of skills that are essential for running Expaty,” O. Salvini told The Baltic Times Magazine.

Lately, you’ve been focusing on an exciting endeavor – What prompted you to start it?

Starting came from my own ups and downs as an expat. When I moved to my last two countries, I relied on intermediaries to help me settle in, but not all the assistance was good. This issue became even more apparent when my child was born. Finding the right experts, especially those with services in English, was a real struggle. Although things were easier in Estonia thanks to the widespread use of English, I realized this isn't the case everywhere in Europe. This inspired me to create Expaty, a platform to help expats easily find reliable services, making their move less stressful and more successful.

How does the platform operate?

Expaty operates by allowing expats to connect with verified businesses and professionals. Users can search for services in various categories, read reviews, and directly engage with professionals. Each listed professional undergoes a thorough verification process to ensure reliability, making it easier for expats to find trusted support in their new homes.

No doubt, human interactions you see happening via Expats must be heart-warming and rewarding. Can you please talk about that?

The variety of cases and situations we've encountered at Expaty really shows the breadth of our impact—from helping someone in Paris find a locksmith quickly to connecting expats with specialist doctors, lawyers, or immigration services. Our goal is to provide the names of reliable professionals as swiftly as possible. In the early days, I was personally replying to every request as our platform was still being built. It’s incredibly fulfilling to receive emails from people who've solved their problems thanks to our service. The human interactions facilitated by Expaty are genuinely heart-warming. It's these personal successes that keep us motivated and committed to enhancing the expat experience.

As the Expaty founder, what challenges do you see that expats face most? And to what extent can Expaty help cope with them?

At the moment, we're focusing on Europe, specifically targeting 52 major cities. The ease of settling in varies greatly from country to country. Nordic countries, for instance, typically offer a smoother transition with public administrations fluent in English and multilingual websites available. However, this level of accessibility is not uniform across all European nations. One of the most significant challenges involves the health system and bureaucracy. Additionally, everyday issues can become problematic, especially when local service providers in sectors like home services lack the resources or awareness to cater to expats effectively. To address this, every profile created on Expaty is automatically translated into more than 30 languages. This feature not only helps expats gather all the necessary information easily but also ensures that local businesses do not miss out on valuable opportunities due to language barriers.

Trust is your cornerstone, which is why you’ve established a rigorous verification process. How does it work?

Our verification process is structured in multiple phases to ensure we list only the most reliable and committed professionals on Expaty. Initially, we identify professionals who show signs of serving international clients. Next, we evaluate them through third-party platforms that provide verification systems like ratings and reviews. Once they pass this preliminary check, we create a basic listing on our website. Finally, we conduct an interview or introductory call with the company. This conversation is crucial for explaining how Expaty works and to ensure that the company understands the importance of serving the expat community effectively. This comprehensive process builds a solid foundation of trust with our users, ensuring they have access to dependable professionals who can meet their specific needs.

One may think you work with blue-collar labourers, however, you can also help in seeking a doctor, a lawyer, a real estate expert, or simply just looking to network with fellow expats, correct?

Indeed, while some might think our services are limited to certain types of work, Expaty is much more diverse. We help expats connect with a wide range of professionals, from doctors and lawyers to real estate experts and more, catering to the comprehensive needs of the expat community. Additionally, we're planning to further expand our offerings by hosting a job board on the platform. This board will feature job opportunities that are particularly suited for the expat community, including multilingual and remote positions, tailoring our services even more closely to their specific needs. Moreover, our platform is designed to support expats through all stages of their move. During the 'before' stage, as expats consider and explore new places, they might need professionals like guides, accountants, or fiscal consultants. The 'during' phase, when the actual move happens, calls for services such as movers, real estate agents, and cleaning companies to prepare the new living space. Finally, in the 'post-move' phase, when expats are settled into their new country, they require various everyday services to manage their day-to-day lives efficiently. Each stage has its unique needs, and Expaty is committed to providing relevant professional connections throughout this journey. Importantly, we prefer to act as a problem-solving company rather than just a media outlet that publishes articles about expat life. Our focus is on providing direct, actionable solutions that address the specific challenges faced by expats, rather than merely offering information.

How does Expaty make money?

Expaty generates revenue primarily through subscription fees from professionals listed on our platform. We offer a range of plans, from a free basic option to more tailored packages that include extensive promotional support for the companies. In the future, we plan to introduce a commission model on services booked through our site. This approach ensures that our interests remain aligned with providing high-quality, reliable connections. Our goal is to maintain a balance between the quality of the services and information provided and the sustainability of the project. Expaty is completely bootstrapped, operating without external investors, which makes it crucial for us to carefully manage resources while continuing to offer valuable and effective solutions to the expat community.

Where do you want to see Expaty next?

In the future, I envision Expaty expanding its reach to include more countries and offering an even broader array of services tailored to expat needs. Our goal is to become the go-to resource for expats worldwide, assisting in all aspects of expat life, from professional services to community building. We plan to enhance our offerings with ancillary services, such as a job board and rental search capabilities directly on the platform. Beyond just digital expansion, my vision includes moving Expaty into the physical realm as well. I dream of establishing boots on the ground with services like relocation tours and setting up real information/help offices in major European cities. These hubs would serve as vital resources for expats in need of help, support, or consultancy, making Expaty a tangible presence in the everyday lives of the expat community.

Who are the people on your team?

Our team is as diverse as the community we serve. This diversity brings a wide range of insights and expertise to our operations, making Expaty deeply attuned to the needs of our users. At the moment, our team is quite lean, composed mainly of consultants and freelancers who assist us with content creation, technology, business development, and operations. I am actively involved in supporting each of these areas, ensuring that we remain agile and responsive to the evolving needs of the expat community we serve. This structure allows us to maintain flexibility and innovation as we grow and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.