One of New York’s most popular roommate-finding apps has joined forces with another competitor.
Roomi, an online marketplace that connects roommates with landlords and other people looking for a place to rent, announced that it is acquiring New York-based Symbi.
Symbi, started in 2014, was previously a direct competitor to Roomi, which started out as an online rental platform for New York. Over the last two years Roomi also acquired competitors including The Room Ring and Room.me. “We believe it’s going to take a lot more than just us to solve the problem [of finding roommates],” Roomi’s founder Ajay Yadav told Inman. “We want to learn from these companies and have the benefit of their experience.”
According to Yadav, a single large marketplace for roommate listings will provide people looking for a place to rent with a more streamlined experience, and give Roomi the advantage of having the best selection of rooms and pool of roommates in a city in one place.
Just as with dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, Roomi works as a mobile app that lets user swipe through rooms and roommates that they like. The company also screens the rooms and offers background checks on the roommates who join the platform.
Over the next few months, Symbi’s users and listings will be gradually transitioned to the larger Roomi marketplace.
“When we were building Symbi, we observed first-hand the power of network effects,” said Symbi co-founders Simone Kalmakis and Peter Kalmakis in a statement. “[…] By joining forces with Roomi, our users can now tap into the broader ecosystem to find their perfect roommate match.”
Since its launch in 2015, Roomi saw rapid growth — it raised $11 million in Series A funding and sprang to the top of the Apple App Store rankings for housing apps.
It also did not take long for the New York-based platform to branch out to other cities in North America — it now operates in 20 markets with a heavy presence in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. According to Yadav, Roomi now has more than 1 million users in the U.S. and Canada. Over the next year, the company will be focusing on expanding its listings base in San Francisco and L.A. and making it easier for users to pay rent online.