Roommate-matching startup Roomi expands internationally
The app is launching in London, followed by other European cities On the heels of acquiring yet another rival, online roommate finder Roo...
An app that makes it safer and easier to search for shared housing
1M app installations and over 230K apartments listed as of Sept 2017
Grew by 14x in 2016
Has more than 3x more listings for 1+ month sublets in NYC than Airbnb
Raised over $16M from several noted VCs and AngelList syndications
Led by an immigrant repeat founder named among 2017 Forbes’ “30 under 30”
There are 32M people living with roommates with about 90M moves per year
Millennials are moving more than ever — on average a Roomi user is only staying in one place for 4.3 months. With rising rent prices, looming student debts and a preference for flexible, nomadic lifestyles, shared housing is becoming the new normal.
But the process of searching for a place and a person to live with is complicated and outdated. (Did we mention it’s also unsafe??) Sites like Craigslist do not verify the apartment listings or vet the users and there’s often a risk of a scam or expensive, hidden broker fees.
Multiple verification features like background check, ID verifications and Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram integration
Secure in-app messaging to instantly and safely connect users
Provides all of the details needed to make an informed decision on where to live and who to live with
Ability to instantly book online and set up automatic, online rent payments
Browse individualized search results based on income, location and budget
Creates individualized results using income, location, and budget differences
Proprietary algorithms help users save time and money while searching for an apartment and roommate
Early revenue streams proven highly scalable
Roomi's revenue model is directly related to move-ins. If booked online, Roomi collects a fee between 1-10%. Value add services like background checks, ID verifications, and roommate agreements are included if booked online and otherwise available to purchase separately. Roomi also has partnerships with landlords/ property owners in which they receive a fee every time Roomi helps current tenants find a roommate that leads to a lease renewal.
ProjectionsBased on current growth trajectory and market estimations, Roomi aims to reach over 15,000 move-ins by the end of 2017 and 45,000 move-ins by the end of 2018. At that rate, Roomi’s projected revenues for 2017 and 2018 should be around $750,000 and $5 million. *Please note these projected figures are entirely speculative and might be inaccurate.
USE OF PROCEEDS:
Capital raised privately and via Republic will generally go towards operating expenses, staffing, marketing, customer acquisition and other undertakings that the team believes may be helpful for revenue and growth.
Roomi is already even with Craigslist for supply of rooms in NYC and the market itself is growing rapidly. There are about 90 million moves a year and the percent of adults living with roommates is steadily increasing. This market has largely been ignored by the big players, like Airbnb and Craigslist, leaving Roomi well positioned to dominate this space.
Ajay built his first company when he was 17 years old and scaled it to 200 clients and 35 employees while attending college full-time in NYC. He came up with the idea for Roomi shortly after moving to the US. He wrote the code for Roomi himself until he could afford to hire employees.
A Forbes 30 under 30, Ajay is proud of his humble immigrant background and believes entrepreneurship can and should be more inclusive. Roomi is hosting this crowdfunding campaign because of Ajay’s passion to empower anyone to invest in Roomi’s future and allow YOU to be part of our journey towards market leadership.
Wish you had invested in the early rounds of Airbnb or Tinder? Join Roomi and our venture investors to redefine shared housing forever. Thank you for your support!
Thank you note from our CEO + Shout out on our website + Free background check when you list your open room
"Investor" badge on your Roomi profile + Thank you shout out on Twitter by our CEO + All previous perks
Invite to our new rent payment feature in beta, let Roomi process your first rent payment for free (rack up those credit card points!) + All previous perks
Roomi swag bag (t-shirt, canvas bag, stickers, other surprises) + Invites to test all future beta products + All previous perks
Unlimited access to all future Roomi community events (aka 'The R Collective') + All previous perks
Featured on Roomi homepage + Stop by the office and tour Roomi HQ + All previous perks
Flight and accommodation to meet the team and tour Roomi HQ (US based investors only) + All previous perks.
Roomi is available on Web, Android and iOS (including iPad).
Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Diego, CA
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, CanadaIndia:
New Delhi, India
Yes, Roomi is completely free to use. It’s free to list your room, message potential roommates or search on Roomi. We offer paid options for better exposure of your room, but listing your room is completely free!
Roomi is a peer-to-peer marketplace, for people looking for a room, renting out a room or looking to sublet a room.
You’re required to create a profile in order to list your room or message people who list their room. Roomi is completely free to use.
If you're listing your room - Signup, list your room and chat with potential roommates.
you're looking for a room - Signup, search for your city, browse open
rooms and message anyone with a room that has the right budget and
location for you.
No. Your safety and privacy are our number one concern, and we only show an approximate location on your room listing.
Ajay Yadav: I'm Ajay. I'm the Jack of all the trades, the founder.
Alex Larson: I'm Alex, COO of Roomi.
Ajay Yadav: We just prepared for the past 30 minutes. I think the preparation is the company itself, right? It's like we've been working really hard for the past four years to helping find shared housing and find roommates that have better lifestyle. Our work is going to speak for itself.
Alex Larson: Having to go through the experience of using something like Craigslist to replace myself before going to grad school, knew how painful the process was. After hearing about Roomi who solved the problem in a way that no one else was doing at the time, I was sold from day one.
Ajay Yadav: I love starting things. I love solving problems. I'm here building Roomi.
Jesse Draper: We'll be right back after a quick break.
Welcome back to Meet the Drapers.
Ajay Yadav: My name is Ajay, and I'm the founder and CEO of Roomi. I started Roomi to change the way people find housing. More and more people are now sharing homes because they simply cannot afford to live by themselves, and especially young people. I grew up in India. I moved to New York roughly 12 years ago, and I have been sharing homes and have roommates since then. I was frustrated that why is no one trying to solve this problem. You can buy a house. You can find a place by yourself, but why not sharing when it's so important. I built a platform to help you find roommates, and find new place.
Alex Larson: I'm Alex, COO at Roomi, and the secret to our success so far really is about trust and safety. Over 75% of our users are connecting social accounts, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, to really build that social trust with each other, with the community. We're also very strict about what listings we actually let on the platform. We have ID verification, background checks, and we even verify people's utility bills to make sure that they actually live where they say they live. Because of that focus on safety and security, it's allowed us to grow to coming up on a million registered users, and 250,000 rooms on the platform.
Ajay Yadav: The way it works is, let's say your roommate is moving out. You can find a new roommate, or you're looking to move into a new apartment, you can go on Roomi. List your place for free, and find roommates. It has to be a minimum of 30 days and above. We don't do short-term, like a day or a week. It's about living and sharing homes with other people. We're now 40 people, so just not me and we raised over $15 million in capital so far. We really believe that people should be able to move anywhere in the world and feel like home. You can also be a part of company by joining the campaign on Republic.
Bill Draper: Well, maybe you could tell us where you are on it.
Ajay Yadav: Move in rate is now 25%. All the new rooms that come on the platform on any given month, we move 25% people. We moved over 35,000 people so far. We're looking to move almost 45,000 people by end of 2017. Our revenue for this year, up to day so far, is 350K.
Tim Draper: Wait. What? You only move 25% of the people that need to move?
Ajay Yadav: On a monthly basis, yeah. All the new rooms that come on Roomi, we fill 25% of those.
Tim Draper: Oh, I see. Okay. You have lots of inventory, and not as many renters. You need to somehow get more renters on the program.
Ajay Yadav: We also need more people to list their place. You see a million people and 250,000 rooms, there's not enough matching of supply.
Naveen Jain: What's the business model? Who is charging? Who is paying who?
Jesse Draper: Where is the money?
Alex Larson: We do offer in-app services, like background checks, I mentioned. On their profile, they say, "I want people to apply that have done a background check." It's not Roomi asking people to do the background check. It's actually the person that they'd be living with.
Tim Draper: How much is it to do a background check on another renter?
Alex Larson: 24.99
Jesse Draper: What do you get?
Alex Larson: They pay $2.90.
Bill Draper: Does a sexual pervert show up on your driver's license.
Alex Larson: It would. It would show up on the background check.
Jesse Draper: They are keeping the serial killers off.
Tim Draper: Why are you guys doing this? Aren't there 50 companies doing similar thing?
Ajay Yadav: We're the biggest one.
Alex Larson: Yeah.
Tim Draper: You are?
Jesse Draper: Yeah.
Ajay Yadav: We are.
Jesse Draper: They are.
Ajay Yadav: We believe that this is the way people are going to live, by sharing homes. In the US alone, there are going to be 90 million bookings, nine-zero, and we're a small part of that big picture. We want to make sure that we're here to tell a story, and connect with more and more people.
Jesse Draper: No one has quite cracked this, because there are so many out there. People don't know what demographic to focus on. Who are you focused on first?
Ajay Yadav: We're focused on young professionals, just like when you graduate college, the first and second job. You're looking to spend the money, but save money and to share homes, how do you do that with just connecting with like-minded people?
Tim Draper: You guys have raised $15 million, right?
Ajay Yadav: Yes, we're closing it now. We already have 11 committed and in the bank.
Bill Draper: Let's talk five years out. Where are you going to be? How big is this company going to be, and how much money will be needed to get you there?
Ajay Yadav: If you look at Airbnb, I think that changed the way people now ... The hospitality industry, the way you live together and share homes for short term. That's exactly what we're trying to do for long-term. It'll be as big as Airbnb or even bigger. I think the way we look at it, we're not traveling. We're living.
Jesse Draper: Okay, so you make money on background check. Walk me through the rest of your revenue stream.
Alex Larson: We also do partner with landlords.
Jesse Draper: Okay.
Alex Larson: One of our biggest partners in New York we just launched called Stuy Town, which is owned by Blackstone, they have a unique problem, which is turnaround. In an ideal world, none of their apartments are ever empty. That's where we can step in and actually help out. If there's three people, and one of them moves in with their boyfriend and goes back to grad school, like I actually did in Stuy Town, and the lease renewal is up, traditionally, those two people would probably just leave the apartment to go look for another place. With Roomi, they're marketing on our behalf included in the lease when that gets sent out, physically and through the email, telling them that Roomi is the best platform, it's safe and secure. You can list your room. When that unit actually does renew their lease, we get a fee from the landlord.
Tim Draper: What's your burn rate?
Alex Larson: 255 a month for 40 people.
Tim Draper: How did people find out about you?
Alex Larson: We've been fortunate that over half of all of our users are completely organic. The rest, we actually had an exciting subway campaign in New York over the summer. Then the rest is more digital and testing new things, but traditionally, like Facebook and Instagram have been the best.
Jesse Draper: How did the subway campaign do?
Alex Larson: It was good. It was really effective. It's more of an awareness campaign, and it was targeted more towards the supply, as Ajay said.
Tim Draper: Sorry, what was it?
Alex Larson: Oh, they were funny creatives. Actually, Ajay's shirt was on there.
Ajay Yadav: One of these right here.
Tim Draper: Posters?
Alex Larson: Yeah.
Tim Draper: In the subway station.
Alex Larson: Yeah, on the actual train.
Tim Draper: Is this a regional only thing? Do you have to go city to city to city to city before this really starts to grow, or do you think it could just move?
Ajay Yadav: Since it depends on supply so much, I think it's city by city play. We are neighbor-
Tim Draper: Then it's going to be tough to grab ... Even if you are the biggest one, it's going to be tough to grab the whole market, because other people are going to have other cities. Are you thinking you might long-term start acquiring them or what?
Ajay Yadav: We have acquired two small companies in the past. We are live in 24 cities right now, two in Canada and 22 in the US. We believe that they're working by itself, and we're learning about the market, but we're really, really focused on New York. Once we get New York market right, we can take the model, just change it, and go to city by city model scale.
Naveen Jain: What's not working that you thought, you really thought would work and it just did not work?
Ajay Yadav: I would say supply. Supply is the hardest one. We thought that we can just grow it organically, and just word of mouth, and all that stuff. It didn't work. Even the partnership with the landlords, we thought that it can be done in a month. We talked to a large landlord like Blackstone, or some of the ... Just like four, or five, or six months deal.
Bill Draper: Well, it's easier if you have a girlfriend. Are you sharing a room with a girlfriend?
Alex Larson: No. Well, I've used Roomi twice already to find my roommate.
Naveen Jain: How much are you raising?
Ajay Yadav: 12.
Naveen Jain: No, no, right now, on this platform.
Ajay Yadav: 1.
Naveen Jain: 1 million?
Ajay Yadav: Yes.
Tim Draper: What's the valuation?
Ajay Yadav: 31 pre-money.
Naveen Jain: There you have it.
Tim Draper: Okay.
Bill Draper: Where will you be in five years?
Ajay Yadav: We have projected only for the next two years not five, but we expect that 10 million by 2018, and we expect maybe almost $20-25 million by 2019.
Jesse Draper: Okay. Well, we don't have time for any more questions, but we don't have time for a few questions from our live studio audience. What do you guys want to know? Raise your hand. Don't be shy.
Speaker 16: [Inaudible 00:18:32].
Jesse Draper: Yes, stickiness.
Ajay Yadav: For now, yeah, you can definitely go offline. We are now in the process of building a rent payment system and spending bills. We believe that there's other issues that happen once you move in. It's not about just helping you move in to a new place, but really helping you have an amazing experience. Building these services will bring you back to our platform on a monthly basis. We'll also know when you're going to move out and when you need a new roommate.
Tim Draper: Terrific.
Jesse Draper: Well, great.
Tim Draper: Thank you so much.
Jesse Draper: Thank you guys so much.
Ajay Yadav: Thank you.
Tim Draper: Thanks for coming on the show, and welcome to Meet the Drapers.
Ajay Yadav: Thank you.
Jesse Draper: Yeah, thank you guys.
Ajay Yadav: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Bill Draper: Great job.
Ken DeLeon: Success in business requires that you're constantly evolving and changing. There was a period just two years ago when our business was at a low point. It seemed like everything was going against us. In that moment when you're down, this is the time when the greatest epiphanies will oftentimes come. I've reevaluated our model. I made some major pivots and improvements to the model, and thereby, we were launched to a new level. Actually seek the failures, seek the downturns for that's where the lessons are, but also use that. Everything is fluid. Change your business model. Look at the feedback. Through that, you can go to the next level, but never be static. Always be evolving and changing, and that is how you jump to highest level.
Ajay Yadav: We nailed it. It was a lot of fun. Definitely, we enjoyed the whole show, and the judges are great. I mean, they were really good. I think they make you feel comfortable. They were talking and chatting, and that makes you feel like, "Okay, it's just like a chat, a conversation, not like pitching, pitching." We were not expecting to grill that much, but I think we had a feeling that Roomi is a bigger company compared to a lot of other companies, so a lot of questions made sense.
Alex Larson: It was super friendly. In the beginning, they really want you to be comfortable. Then towards the end, we got some hard questions, but I think we rebounded pretty well.
Ajay Yadav: Yeah.
Alex Larson: It was cool to meet ... We had two users, and a third one just came up to us from the audience who had actually used Roomi before, so that's always good to see.
Ajay Yadav: We're from New York, and we are here just for a day, and we're meeting our users in the audience. That was actually very exciting.
Jesse Draper: What did we think?
Tim Draper: I've seen a lot of companies like this.
Jesse Draper: Me too.
Tim Draper: I'm very concerned, and I think it's also city by city, so they might ... Maybe they grab New York, and they've got that. Then my guess is that the other 24 cities are not as big for them. I'm a little concerned about their business model.
Bill Draper: I think they did say they're going for the younger audience, but they didn't say how.
Jesse Draper: Yeah, professional, but where? It's across, like a sprinkle, across the country.
Bill Draper: That's a tough market to ... Yeah, a tough market to find. I'm troubled by young people owning something that has an extra room. I can see the demand, but typically, a young person will find another young person that he knows or she knows. I don't think these guys have-
Jesse Draper: I just think ... You're right. They haven't flushed out the business model, and there are so many ways to flush out this business model. They could make money in so many different investments.
Naveen Jain: That's my worry. If you have something of value, you should be charging for it. The fact that they are afraid to charge the person to find a roommate-
Jesse Draper: Yeah, and they have over a million.
Naveen Jain: Yeah, and that tells you that they really don't believe that their service is that valuable that somebody is willing to pay for it.
Tim Draper: The guys were pretty confident and great. They somehow have raised $12 million.
Naveen Jain: No, they haven't raised. Only, they're raising through us.
Tim Draper: No, they've raised-
Jesse Draper: They have 11.
Tim Draper: Oh, they got 11. They've raised 11, so they're raising 1 here.
Bill Draper: Yeah, they've convinced somebody to-
Jesse Draper: Yeah, I think it's an opportunity. They could buy up all the competitors. I mean, I've seen quite a few of these, especially for college. It's an easy app to build too.
Naveen Jain: I would say, if they haven't gotten the money from Drapers, they're really not that good.
Tim Draper: What do you think? Thumbs up. Thumbs down. Thumbs all around.
Jesse Draper: Thumbs all around.
Bill Draper: I would say down.
Jesse Draper: I'm a slight tilt down.
Roomi successfully raised $321,555 from 1080 investors on March 1, 2018
I wanted to support a startupTolu AmadiInvested 3 months ago
this is the future ...Ahmed AlghamdiInvested 3 months ago
Solves long term shortage of housing.Charles BushInvested 3 months ago
I invested because this was my first attempt at investing and that it is founded by immigrants is very important to meColleen WoodsInvested 3 months ago
it's what I do.Aleks StefanovaInvested 4 months ago
Diversify my portfolio and believe that real estate is changing towards room rentals based on our current economic situation as well as increase of populationSteven LambertInvested 4 months ago
I believe in investmentsAndreas KeeleInvested 4 months ago
Help keep costs down for inmates and their familiesJames Cox EAInvested 4 months ago
This is a sound venture. Roomi is an innovative platform , it has tremendous possibilities.Kunal SarkarInvested 4 months ago
Anything that helps one hold on to our most valued assets (time), will capture attention. Throw in security, peace of mind and social comfort...wellaa! Phenom idea!Sandy UcrosInvested 4 months ago
I believe in opportunities and this seemed good to meMiguel NunoInvested 4 months ago
I want to be a part of a new marketplace. The growth of roommate based search service seems to be a good market.Jill King MillerInvested 4 months ago
Because I’m using the app and I like it. I also think that an investor badge could help me find a roomie faster!David ValenzuelaInvested 4 months ago
50Geison MenaInvested 4 months ago
Like the idea could me the next big thingSahil SabharwalInvested 4 months ago
I invested in your company because I have had people tell me great things about the company service. I believe Roomi is the future!Andre MoultryInvested 4 months ago
50$ in hopes of a returbNeecy LewisInvested 4 months ago
I believe in the concept, and think it is going to be mega successful. This company is on track to become a unicorn company.Olga GinsburgInvested 4 months ago
I wanted to invest in my first startup because I believe in the company and I understand the product. It's pretty simple if I can understand the company and do my research then I shall invest.Mark Campbell IIInvested 4 months ago
For fun.Bryan HollanderInvested 4 months ago
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