Rentenna, New York City startup with an attitude
AGBeat first introduced you to Rentenna.com a year ago, and this New York City startup has come a long way, even landing on the 60 Genius Brands list. Rentenna has a really cool twist on the search process and has introduced the “Rentenna Score” which helps hunters to “filter out crappy (overpriced, run-down, far from subway, bed-buggy)” units on the market.
Additionally, users can see where friends they are connected to on Facebook have lived to get their direct opinion and find out what they recommend, making a play for the popularity of social recommendations. The company was built by with the expertise of a New York City rental agent combined with the coding and tech experience of the other three partners who have combined “the human knowledge of someone who knows the ups and downs of renting in NYC and quantified it using algorithms, maths, robots, lasers, monkeys,” as they describe it.
Since their launch, they have expanded their offering to other large metro areas like Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Turn the clock ahead one year…
In just one year, the company has been testing endlessly, and has now launched a new interface featuring a modular layout and innovative data-delivery system built to harness the growing power of modern web browsers such as Google’s Chrome and the latest versions of Firefox and Safari, bragging that their new speed is “blazing fast.”
“The new user interface provides renters with a more efficient and beautiful apartment search experience,” says Rentenna co-founder and New York Times rental expert Alicia Schwartz. “The modular layout, combined with the Rentenna Building Score system, lets users quickly filter down to properties of interest and get a feel for what it might actually be like to live in a particular building – well before the renter ever schedules a visit.”
Aside from their improved speed, they have launched an advanced sidebar search system that allows apartment-seekers to rapidly filter results, and a modular, infinite-scroll layout that allows users to browse search results and property information with minimal clicking. Particularly relevant to NYC, the new version features auto-surfacing of relevant Yelp reviews for managers, buildings, and local restaurants and businesses
Geeking out under the hood
The company says “the new features complement Rentenna’s popular 1-99 building score system – a rating algorithm that lets renters quickly compare the relative value, amenities, neighborhood quality, and other features of the rental buildings that meet their search criteria.”
“Our dynamic layout engine, combined with a statistical A/B testing framework, gives us an unprecedented ability to experiment with new features and optimize for the best possible user experience,” explains CTO Kevin Dolan. In non-geek terms, the modular layout means Rentenna can test new features, measure how useful those features turn out to be for its users, and rapidly improve on the best ideas while weeding out those that don’t truly enhance the apartment search experience.