A finalist in the Live category, RentHackr is a resource for would be renters, to find out more about potential spaces to live, including upcoming availability and property details, sure.
More importantly, RentHackr dishes the details that New Yorkers really want to know – like what the last tenant had to say about the apartment, the building’s quirks, what the neighbors are like – and what your neighbors are paying.
Founder Zeb Dropkin is here to tell us more and give new meaning to the term elevator pitch.
Tell us about the service.
RentHackr connects renters directly to apartments and rooms ahead of the market. Renters provide their current apartment info when they join, including what they wish they had known about their place, if they’d rent there again, and what they plan to do when their lease ends. The unique information renters provide on RentHackr creates a new kind of apartment marketplace built with transparency and trust.
How is it different?
Until now, it has been impossible to see how much renters really pay, what they like or dislike about their places, and when they’re moving out. Yet that’s the most valuable information for apartment hunters: when places will become available and the experiences of other renters.
RentHackrs can search apartments and rooms that will become available months in the future. They can see what renters wish they knew about their apartment, if they’d rent there again, interesting apartment attributes, like light and view, and they can message current renters to find out more. They can even follow buildings they’re interested in and get notified as soon as new info is added, and they can see how much apartments cost in buildings where their friends rent. You can’t do any of those things on our competitors’ services.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We’re starting off on our home turf in NYC, where over 5 million renters live. But because our data comes from renters, and renters all over the world wanted to join, we opened up RentHackr globally. We have apartments in over 500 cities from Abu Dhabi to Zurich.
Most of us in large cities rent, we don’t own. And that number is rising fast. Current estimates say that by 2050, 70% of the world will live in big cities. The rental housing market is set to grow profoundly over the next few decades.
What are the hottest rental neighborhoods in the city?
Crown Heights is extremely hot right now — no joke.
What is the business model?
Right now, we’re focused on welcoming users and building up our inventory of apartments. Our unique data set offers clear value for stakeholders in the rental market. We’ll monetize on connecting renters to apartments and their leasing agents, on access to our anonymized data and reports, and on premium features for renters.
Tell us about your experience with NYC Big Apps thus far.
It’s been an interesting ride so far. There were so many ideas and teams at the block party in Brooklyn. And the team of people working with BigApps was super smart and supportive. We’re really grateful to have been selected as finalists!
In which category is your app and why is your app the best in that category?
We’re in the Live category. The variety of apps in this category is impressive. RentHackr deserves the prize because we’re poised to make a significant impact in New Yorkers’ lives immediately and in the years to come.
Why is New York the place to launch your particular app?
More than two-thirds of New Yorkers rent – more than any other city in America. Finding an apartment in the city is notoriously a nightmare. The search is exhausting because there’s a lack of honesty and organized information. Most of your time is spent trying to read between the lines on listings to avoid scams, bait-and-switches, and terrible buildings. There’s no reason we can’t just bypass all that and go right to the people who know what living at that particular address is really like. New Yorkers are acutely aware of the problem, and that makes NY the perfect place to validate our solution.
What would winning NYC Big Apps mean for your company?
Winning BigApps would be huge for RentHackr! It would help us get the word out and start helping more New Yorkers this Fall. The more users on RentHackr, the more useful RentHackr becomes to our users. The prize money would go directly into product development and growth, helping us deliver more value to RentHackrs.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why
Shana Fisher — I really enjoyed watching her YC Startup School talk. She shoots straight, and I think it would be highly rewarding to meet her, and hear her thoughts on the opportunity we’re going after and how we’re going about it.
Yankees or Mets?
Yankees, but we enjoy Citi Field, too. And we’d like to catch a Brooklyn Cyclones game.