Well, Ajay Yadav went a step further – he now not only made lemonade but additionally managed to grab tequila and salt worth $6 Mn along with it!
It become 2007 when Ajay came to the US to study pc science at NYIT. Like any new migrant to the metropolis, he used Craigslist to find a roommate. So when he did manage to locate one, seems his roommate fleeced him and took off with all his assets and safety deposit.
Or as Ajay appears returned now and reminisces, “I rushed into residing with a person I didn’t realize, and I changed into robbed of my assets and safety deposit.”
Nevertheless, his lifestyles persisted without any greater horror memories as he went thru multiple residence searches and had numerous roommates. However, 5 years later in 2013, records repeated itself. After seeing another buddy get further fleeced, and spending endless hours emailing from side to side to look for a roommate for his buddy, sifting thru applicants with conflicting options, and demanding about protection whilst going to see a listing, he knew he had to find a higher way.
It turned into time to make that lemonade.
And so Ajay went to paintings at the concept for a new app to help join people looking for an area to live with the ones looking for a roommate. He commenced via compiling listings in a Google document that he then posted on a Tumblr web page. He requested buddies in the event that they would really like to import their advert, and that they did.
And then he thought, why no longer construct a business based on this?
So he started writing the code himself back in 2014 as a solo founder till he turned into in a position to hire a person. For the primary six-to-eight months, he didn’t even have a complete-time crew. Instead, he employed contractors and freelancers, all sitting remotely.
And thus, Roomi turned into born. Roomi formally released in beta section in June 2015 for iOS users, and for net use in January 2016. Shortly after, it went stay across all structures, such as Android.
Looking again Ajay recounts, “I knew there were incredible housemates out there, the hassle changed into the quest gear. Facebook wasn’t built for housing searches, and listings on Craigslist aren’t vetted. Safety is a large difficulty, so the idea for Roomi came from a actual need that such a lot of human beings face every day – the problem of locating safe and less expensive housing that lets in you to experience such as you’ve observed a new domestic and no longer simply a place to crash. Feeling at home is essential to being capable of completely include the adventures supplied by means of a new city and have a effective common revel in in an urban putting.”
So Roomi expanded from New York to San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, with other markets and services and to India this week with its first global office. It additionally picked up a cool $6 Mn alongside the way from buyers which includes DCM Ventures, Great Oak Ventures, and others.
For Ajay, the celebration appears to have just commenced.
Helping You Find The Right Kind Of Roomie
Roomi’s proposition boils down to 2 things – established listings and presenting users the right equipment and customized assist, that allows you to help them make the first-rate desire for their man or woman wishes. Users can put up their listings, all of which might be validated via the crew internally, and look for the right room or housemate based on life-style options.
Upon registration or setting a list, customers answer several character and lifestyle questions together with pet possibilities, smoking habits and greater, as well as the extra-widespread vicinity and price variety inquiries.
The app then interprets those solutions into a detailed profile, allowing customers to search for housing and housemates who meet their wishes and alternatives. Listers also can view and message those who've considered their rooms.
Additionally, human beings can then learn extra by way of connecting via the in-app chat on troubles along with shared values, not unusual hobbies, like minded lifestyles or even such things as TV choices, meals likes, and socialising patterns. This chat remains non-public.
Roomi is really for anyone looking to have a splendid and problem-loose experience at some point of their circulate. However, a lion’s percentage of its users are millennials between the a long time of 18 and 35, who are seeking safe and inexpensive shared housing with out the problem.
500K Happy Roomies And Counting!
The startup already has greater than 500K customers and has mainly helped students and professionals locate the appropriate housemates and co-living areas for the duration of foremost towns within the US and Canada along with New York City, Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, Toronto, and Vancouver. With its foray into the Indian market beginning with New Delhi, it additionally plans to roll out in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Pune early next year. Additionally, with its expansion the world over into India, it also hopes to develop into other markets as properly.
Adds Ajay, “We are continually searching out the following market to release into, and we have our eyes on a few cities that Roomi might be a super fit for, so we're getting ready to release in the ones towns, hopefully pretty quickly.”
As of now, the group is focussed on constructing the best patron revel in and improving the platform in addition to offerings. Monetising will come down the street with offerings that virtually upload value to its users’ experience and expand with the housing market. These include paid functions such as presenting automated identification, background, and credit score checks for a fee and thru offerings which includes paying lease online.
Further, Roomi targets to offer an escrow carrier for rent deposits. Until then, Roomi will keep building a network and increasing its markets.
The startup raised $2 Mn in Seed funding in June 2015 led by means of DCM Ventures. Great Oak Ventures, Sand Hill East, Jeff Dishner, Greg Kidd, Arihant Patni, Jeff Penney, and AngelList Consumer Fund additionally participated inside the spherical. This July, it raised a further $4 Mn in Seed funding led by means of DCM Ventures to increase the world over, bringing general finances raised to $6 Mn.
Ajay brought that they may maintain to elevate cash within the destiny as lengthy because it suits with their approach for increase and enlargement.
The Real Competition: Craigslist And Facebook
As in keeping with Ajay, the real problem Roomi is making an attempt to solve is the large quantity of scams on Craigslist, along with cord fraud and worse. For a long term, those websites represented the very restrained alternatives humans inside the US had for locating character housing or shared housing.
That being stated, some of the styles related to those websites have turn out to be synonymous with safety worries. There aren't any real exams on the device, and verification is a first-rate problem.
To address this, Roomi has unique list profiles, map view search and numerous other functions that makes the procedure easier and more secure typical. The verification crew is devoted just to ensure that listings are valid. What additionally allows it rating are carefully crafted profiles, filtering competencies, in-app chat, and the search capability which he claims is an awful lot better on Roomi.
He reiterates, “We are sincerely focussed on locating the proper roommate for our users. We suit human beings who've compatible lifestyle choices, and we're there every step of the way to help our users find that perfect fit, all within a cozy surroundings. Our verification team ensures that our listings are valid, making the entire technique as pressure-unfastened as condo or housemate hunting may be.”
Recently, it also introduced the purchase of Room.Me, a strong participant inside the California marketplace. By bringing Room.Me’s network into its fold, Ajay feels Roomi is now higher-positioned for locating shared housing.
Of direction, there are different players who are intending to do the equal. Players like Symbi, PureHouse, and Common, which raised $7.35 Mn in Series A investment final yr, also are gunning for a bit of the shared residing pie in US. Similarly shared-office organization WeWork’s undertaking, WeLive which offers short-time period leases and started operations this April is a contender too.
However, Ajay stays unfazed. He says, “Not every town is ready, or maybe appropriate, for a bigger co-residing structure like Common inside the US or Collective in the UK. Those options aren’t usually the favored living state of affairs for human beings seeking shared housing because many people opt for a smaller experience of community and accelerated privateness at home. Hence, Roomi works inside a metropolis’s contemporary infrastructure, permitting customers to experience simply specific locations to live and punctiliously choose the individuals they want to stay with. Ultimately, we location more control in the palms of every user and equip them with all of the records they need to make the excellent decisions.”
Meanwhile, in terms of India, he factors to the growing need for shared dwelling, as evidenced by means of the reality that Flatchat – which grew to over 100K users – was most of the top-rated actual property apps in India previous to being received by way of CommonFloor and ultimately its office turned into close down this August. Flatchat had also raised funding to the music of $2.5 Mn in June 2015.
Others working on this space consist of – Noida-based totally FlatMate which allows its users (students/young experts) to find flatmates primarily based on common interests, and Bengaluru-based totally Homigo, a platform that gives working specialists with absolutely-provided homes on sharing foundation. Last October, it raised $200k in seed funding from unnamed character investors primarily based out of Bengaluru and overseas.
Then there may be Gurugram-based totally CoHoStayz– a tech platform this is revolutionising the co-living idea in India, imparting managed flats and villas whilst catering to the lengthy-stay accommodation needs of the teenagers. Besides this, Facebook organizations consisting of Flat and Flatmates is likewise any other popular option.
With the real estate bubble refusing to burst and escalating loan charges, more people than ever are renting, as an alternative of purchasing, particularly millennials. They also are deciding on to stay with others an awful lot extra so than in the beyond. Younger human beings cost flexibility and generally tend to select to spend their profits on stories so than on cloth possessions.
Also, with growing populace in metros like Delhi and an boom inside the millennial population, the call for for lower priced housing is rising. Every 12 months, roughly 200K learners shift to New Delhi, and it’s no surprise that shared residing as a marketplace is huge in India and plenty of city towns internationally, given the rising value of living in urban hubs. By providing protection and safety on the desk and an option to carefully pick out the individuals, human beings want to live with, Roomi could be capable of offer a unique proposition to millennials in Delhi and the likes.
The query is how efficiently will it's able to leverage the social networking it presents to its advantage and hit upon a sustainable business version. This stays to be visible after it rolls out the paid features for its millennial target audience.