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NEW YORK — As airlines slashed flights and furloughs appeared inevitable in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Mike Catania sensed there would be little need for a service that helped airline crews find short-term housing.
So, Catania and his fellow owners shut down Padloop in early March, even though the nearly year-old company had just broken even.
Catania started looking at how life was changing amid the pandemic and came up with the idea for his next business: Locaris, a website to help apartment renters connect with prospective neighbors to get the scoop on buildings and landlords. Because the pandemic limited people’s ability to meet in person, Locaris enabled renters to get the lowdown on a building safely.
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“I tried to focus on, what is COVID a catalyst for? What trends is it bringing to market a couple of years ahead of schedule?” says Catania, who lives in Henderson, Nevada. Locaris launched in June and quickly found success.
As owners are forced to shut businesses, they’ve had to figure out what to do next. For entrepreneurs like Catania, the answer has been anticipating the next trend and creating a company to take advantage of it. Some owners have started businesses similar to those they lost, or companies that fill a different role in the same industry. Others have gone to work for someone else, while perhaps holding onto hopes of eventually reviving the businesses they shuttered.