The Expats Club started off as an inline forum for networking and socialising for expatriates in Dubai in 2013 when the founder, Raj Darshan, moved to the city after 16 years in London. Raj or Dan (as he is now called by members) set up the Club (mailing list and groups) in order to enhance his own network in the city but also found that the Club was extremely effective in helping anyone who joined to rapidly and easily build a business and social network. The Expats Club significantly shrunk the time taken by expatriates to settle down in their adopted cities. It also changed the lives of members by making their stay in their adopted cities much more pleasurable and by helping them build their support structures. The wide range of activities of the Expats Club also meant that members could engage in a whole host of activities which helped them make the most of the opportunities offered by their adopted cities. The Expats Club took on a life of its own in 2014 by which time it had grown to over 3000 members. Around 2014, some of the members of the Expats Club in Dubai moved to Abu Dhabi, Doha and London. The members who moved asked that the Expats Club expand its activities to those cities and that they would take the lead in assisting its growth. By the end of 2014, the Expats Club was operating in 6 cities (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London, Doha, Kuwait and Bahrain) and had over 20,000 members. In 2015 the Expats Club expanded to Singapore and Hong Kong. By early 2016 the combined Expats Club chapters in these 8 cities had over 40,000 members.
In terms of legal substance the Expats Club is only online, has no local geographic presence other than in London and is a large multinational mailing list and online groups and all members join this mailing list/groups in order to be invited to networking activities around the world. This is a commercial enterprise which earns revenues from management consulting, footfall and marketing consulting, advisory and support services to hospitality venues. It also earns revenues by providing members of the mailing list with consulting advice and support to grow their business and social networks around the world.
In 2016 the Expats Club has received financial investment and strategic support from investors who buy into the vision and the prospects for global expansion. The Expats Club plans to expand operations to another 12 cities before the end of 2016, comprising mainly European capital cities and major international cities in the USA.
The vision of the Expats Club is to be the one stop local professional and social network for expatriates across the world.
In practice this means the following:
- The Expats Club is an online commercial enterprise with its primary abode in the UK and contact points across the world.
- It is not a Club in the typical sense. There is no membership form, rules, committees or charter.
- The membership of the Expats Club mailing list should comprise expatriates as well as internationally minded locals.
- The activities of the Expats Club should comprise activities which facilitate professional and social networking.
- The activities of the Expats Club should always be provided by local venues, domestic talent and national businesses and The Expats Club will provide marketing and sales management consulting services to these local businesses..
- The accumulated experience of all members with regard to local services, financial advisors, real estate consultants, relocation agents etc. is brought together to advise and benefit all members.
- The collective buying power of the club mailing list should be leveraged in order to bring price and service benefits to all members.
- Members of the Expats Club should be able to network seamlessly with other members across the world, both online through the platform and in the real world through access to activities in other cities.