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RoomGroove is eHarmony for roommates

Not even three months old yet, RoomGroove has already attracted the interest of big names in multifamily and takes a much needed creative approach to the roommate search sector, using modern technologies.

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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and crushing the need for multifamily management to spend inefficiently on expensive lead generation tools that are outdated.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.

Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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Social Media

TikTok enters the e-commerce space, ready to compete with Zuckerberg?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Setting up social media for e-commerce isn’t an uncommon practice, but for TikTok this means the next step competing with Facebook and Instagram.

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Couple taking video with mobile phone, prepared for e-commerce.

Adding e-commerce offerings to social media platforms isn’t anything new. However, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, is rolling out some new e-commerce features that will place the social video app in direct competition with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Instagram.

According to a Financial Times report, TikTok’s new features will allow the platform to create and expand its e-commerce service in the U.S. The new features will allow TikTok’s popular users to monetize their content. These users will be able to promote and sell products by sharing product links in their content. In return, TikTok will profit from the sales by earning a commission.

Among the features included is “live-streamed” shopping. In this mobile phone shopping channel, users can purchase products by tapping on products during a user’s live demo. Also, TikTok plans on releasing a feature that will allow brands to display their product catalogs.

Currently, Facebook has expanded into the e-commerce space through its Facebook Marketplace. In May 2020, it launched Facebook Shops that allows businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram stories into online stores.

But, Facebook hasn’t had too much luck in keeping up with the video platform in other areas. In 2018, the social media giant launched Lasso, its short-form video app. But the company’s TikTok clone didn’t last too long. Last year, Facebook said bye-bye to Lasso and shut it down.

Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok by launching Instagram Reels. This feature allows users to share short videos just like TikTok, but the future of Reels isn’t set in stone yet. By the looks of it, videos on Reels are mainly reposts of video content posted on TikTok.

There is no word on when the features will roll out to influencers on TikTok, but according to the Financial Times report, the social media app’s new features have already been viewed by some people.

TikTok has a large audience that continues to grow. By providing monetization tools in its platform, TikTok believes its new tools will put it ahead of Facebook in the e-commerce game, and help maintain that audience.

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Social Media

Your favorite Clubhouse creators can now ask for your financial support

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Clubhouse just secured new funding – what it means for creators and users of the latest quarantine-based social media darling.

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Woman talking on Clubhouse on her iPhone with a big smile.

Clubhouse – the live-voice chat app that has been taking the quarantined world by storm – has recently announced that it has raised new funding in a Series B round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

The app confirms that new funding means compensation for creators; much like the influencers on TikTok and YouTube, now Clubhouse creators will be able to utilize features such as subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales to monetize their content.

To encourage emerging Clubhouse creators and invite new voices, funding round will also support a promising “Creator Grant Program”.

On the surface, Clubhouse is undoubtedly cool. The invite-only, celebrity-filled niche chatrooms feel utopic for any opinionated individual – or anyone that just likes to listen. At its best, Clubhouse brings to mind collaborative campfire chats, heated lecture-hall debates or informative PD sessions. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually obsessed.

And now with its new round, the video chatroom app will not only appear cool but also act as a helpful steppingstone to popular and emerging creators alike. “Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse,” said Paul & Rohan, the app’s creators, “and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions.”

Helping creators get paid for their labor in 2021 is a cause that we should 100% get behind, especially if we’re consuming their content.

Over the next few months, Clubhouse will be prototyping their tipping, tickets and subscriptions – think a system akin to Patreon, but built directly into the app.

A feature unique to the app – tickets – will offer individuals and organizations the chance to hold formal discussions and events while charging an admission. Elite Clubhouse rooms? I wonder if I can get a Clubhouse press pass.

Additionally, Clubhouse has announced plans for Android development (the app has only been available to Apple users so far). They are also working on moderation policies after a recent controversial chat sparked uproar. To date, the app has been relying heavily on community moderation, the power of which I’ve witnessed countless times whilst in rooms.

So: Is the golden age of Clubhouse – only possible for a short period while everyone was stuck at home and before the app gained real mainstream traction – now over? Or will this new round of funding and subsequent development give the app a new beginning?

For now, I think it’s safe to say that the culture of Clubhouse will certainly be changing – what we don’t know is if the changes will make this cream-of-the-crop app even better, or if it’ll join the ranks of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in being another big-time social media staple.

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