No one likes setting aside time to find that perfect apartment. You want an apartment that fits your needs and price range and this drains time and money. While some apps that have tried to tackle this problem, none do it as well as Riley. With their SMS-based service, it is available to virtually everyone, and sets you up with a real broker who sincerely has your best interests in mind.
Recently launched in NYC, Daniel Ahmadizadeh joins AlleyWatch to tell us about his convenient startup that’s making securing an apartment in the city seamless.
Tell us about the product or service. How are we different?
Riley is a personal assistant for real estate via text messaging. Users text 740-478-4021 to find their next home. Riley uses a combination of user input and Big Data to provide users with the most personalized listings, leading to increased conversion rates and lower vacancies for property owners. Riley is the only mobile-first real estate service that does not require an app download. SMS is a functionality that is on every single mobile device in the world whereas other real estate apps are dependent on operating system, device type, etc. We believe that we are able to accumulate more data from both sides of the marketplace via SMS as compared to other services due to our ability to directly engage with users.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Our first vertical is centered around residential housing, specifically rentals. There are $109M renters in the United States, $36M of whom are millennials, accounting for a $139B industry. Brokers spend $6b annually on advertising, yet listings that are sent to users on the leading real estate sites are not personalized to the user’s taste and conversion rates are low (3-5%). Owners and property managers are inundated with prospective renters/buyers that are not necessarily interested or qualified for the listings, losing them time in the process.
What is the business model?
Riley employs a pay-per-lead model where service providers within real estate (movers, cleaners, insurance) pay per lead depending on filters that are selected.
What inspired the business?
SMS is the future of commerce. Consumer behavior is shifting towards users seeking more simplicity. Globally, 8.6 trillion texts are sent per year and we believe that consumption will continue to shift towards the most utilized form of communication, SMS.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Pick a metric and let that guide decisions.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Stuart Goldfarb. Given his background and current role at Melo7 Tech Partners, it would be nice to get his feedback on what we are building.
Why did you launch in New York?
Supply and demand? 20% of our users are looking for homes/rentals in NY and San Francisco.
Where is your favorite outdoor bar in the city for a drink when it is actually warm out?
Shack Shack in Madison Square Park?
This will probably be the best text you send all year
SMS is a functionality that is on every single mobile device in the world whereas other real estate apps are dependent on operating system, device type, etc.