RoomGroove, ambitious real estate startup
Less than 90 days old, RoomGroove has launched to match roommates more effectively and crushing the need for multifamily management to spend inefficiently on expensive lead generation tools that are outdated. The company currently operates in Austin and is focused on procuring their own content and listings, currently porting in information from Capstone, the Gables, and other luxury apartment communities.
The key ingredient to RoomGroove is the social interaction offered before people lease. But that already exists you say, and you’re wrong. Yes, there are roommate search sites in existence that allow you to reach out to potential roommates, but RoomGroove actually uses the Facebook and LinkedIn APIs to find commonalities between potential roommates quantifying their compatible before they ever even connect.
It’s like eHarmony for renters, and the young founders are confident not only that their service fills a need for roommates, but also for landlords. Many multifamily properties spend a great deal of time and money on social media, which typically is focused on resident retention, but RoomGroove allows them to focus on potential leads and improve conversion, which is one of their key goals.
Additionally, in a climate of rising rents, landlords have the added benefit of what RoomGroove calls their “special sauce,” which is to help potential renters to find each other and rent a bigger unit, particularly when people find they can’t afford a one bedroom alone. We predict multifamily properties will want to partner with this startup to have them as an option to suggest immediately upon lack of income qualification or lack of availability for single units.
What’s next for RoomGroove?
As with any startup, they are constantly tweaking and improving their offering. The company tells AGBeat that they will be expanding to new markets and will have a presence in San Francisco and New York by March 9th.
One of the company’s future features that piqued our attention is that they’re currently developing an app that allows users to set up a quick profile and check in at a property which instantly notifies anyone else that has also checked in. It’s like instant gratification and could potentially lead to apartment reservations before the person even leaves the leasing office. RoomGroove makes renting social in a unique way by adding a dash of eHarmony with a bit of FourSquare.
The company can be seen at the SXSW VC Fast Pitch at 3:30 on March 9th in the Startup Village (4th floor of the Austin Hilton), where they could land the interest of some pretty influential investors.
How RoomGroove came to fruition
In early 2011, 22 year old Elliot Counts left college and got his real estate license, finding a gig consulting with multifamily management and was immediately struck by all of the money wasted on expensive lead generation models which charged for leads, with half of the leads he was seeing not even fitting the property’s needs. But they had to pay anyhow.
In response to the waste he witnessed first hand, Counts sought to help the industry, so dreamed up the eHarmony model for roommates.
Commercial real estate agent Graham Sparrow joined as Counts’ Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer and in January 2012, they brought on their developer Bain Mullens who became their Chief Technology Officer and whipped up their first product, a feat by any standards. Less than three months in, they’re already turning heads.
With some money behind them, it would be interesting to see the potential of the company to not only go national but to solve some of the real pain points not only for renters but of landlords, bringing concurrence between the two that previously existed only in fragments.