So, which is harder/worse? Finding the right apartment, or finding the right roommate? Toss up, right? What if there was an all-in-one service that would help you navigate your way through both?
That’s exactly what MatchPad does. Think of them as a dating site for matching you with the right apartment – and the right roommate. You even meet up in a safe social environment – like a meetup – so there are no awkward moments. So, they basically vet both the apartments and the potential roommates, cutting down on the spam and the scams. Co-founders Michelle Erland and Anne Kavanagh are here to tell us more.
Tell us about the service.
MatchPad is a fresh approach to finding roommates and renting apartments. Think of it as Match.com, but for a roommate. It’s an important relationship and can make or break a living situation.
We engage and connect our community online as well as offline by offering meetup events. But while we are matching ideal roommates with each other, we are spending time with realtors and ensure that the apartment being shown on our website is the exact one you will see. We want to make the process of rooming and renting painless and fun.
How is it different?
We position ourselves by providing a spam-free environment for users. All of our data is owned by us. We do not scrape or aggregate data from 3rd party sites. Our team will initially provide listing services for realtor’s to combat this issue.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Rental real estate and roommates. Currently, 98.4 million people rent in the US and there are 1.2 million NAR registered realtors. The most interesting part is the amount of money spent on advertising in this market. $1.2 billion is spent on advertising and the average realtor spends $1,070 annually.
What is the business model?
Freemium model/Free for users. We generate revenue from real estate listings. We plan to offer a tiered model based on the number of listings and the size of the broker.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
- Come out of beta in the next 6-8 weeks.
- Launch v2 with additional/updated features.
- Generate revenue from listings.
- Launch our mobile app.
- Launch in a second market- possibly Los Angeles or San Francisco.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
There are so many great investors in Silicon Alley, but if we had to choose one it would have to be Adam Rothenberg. What draws us to Mr. Rothenberg is his involvement with TechStars. He has proven to be a powerful force in venture capitalism and connects startups with the right mentors and investors. But these qualities aren’t even our favorite thing about Mr. Rothenberg. What we see is a rare knack to invest in people and the ideas that they have. This is what we like most and is the reason we know we would benefit by being connected with him.
Why are you launching in New York?
When we were deciding where to locate our initial launch, we considered a few factors but there are three that were the most important to us. The first factor was the size of the rental market in New York City. The second factor was the common inefficiencies in finding roommates and apartments in this city. The third factor was the growing number of tech startups in New York City. It feels like we are in the right place at the right time and being in this environment inspires us to make a better product.
What’s the oddest roommate story/situation you have come across?
We once heard a story from one of our staff members about his college roommate. His roommate, we’ll call him Dan, would eat nothing but bread. Sliced bread, burger buns, etc. This would leave our staff member with no bread for sandwiches or hot dogs. One night, he caught Dan standing in front of the pantry in his underwear squirting mustard on sliced bread to prepare himself a little midnight snack. When caught, he dropped the bread and mustard on the floor and ran into his room. By far that is the strangest story we’ve heard but when we start hosting regular meetup events, this story will seem rather tame.
Where’s the best place to live in New York?
Well, that’s really a matter of what you like. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, but want to live in Manhattan, we would suggest Murray Hill or the Upper East Side. If you want all the cool of Williamsburg minus the price tag, we might suggest Gowanus or Bushwick. The best thing about New York City is all the options you have from the place you rent to the bar you hang out at on Friday nights and everything in between. We at Matchpad must admit that we are a bit partial to the West Village because it’s home to some of our favorite restaurants and our favorite bar, Wicked Willy’s.