Shared housing platform Roomeze raised $2 million in a seed funding round, the startup told Inman.
Roomeze, launched in 2016 to help renters find roommates and housing at the same time, brought on this first significant influx of funding led by real estate and venture capital firm Gideon Asset Management with participation from Allegiant Capital and New York residential real estate firm E&M Associates.
Roomeze operates in New York City and in a beta test in Union City, New Jersey, where the startup helps roommates find each other and posts real estate listings for shared housing in mostly three- and four-bedroom apartments. The company has placed 2,700 people in apartments, it says.
“We’ve been operating in and around New York for the past few years, bootstrapping it, but it was time to really expand the business, put some fuel in the tank and take things to the next level,” Roomeze CEO and former real estate broker Jordan Davidovit told Inman.
With this seed funding, Roomeze plans to increase marketing and develop new features. Those developments will include automating more of the platform’s client screening and client matching; updating the interface for roommate matching to more resemble familiar dating site interfaces; introducing new features for landlords; and introducing new concierge services for renters.
For landlords, Roomeze plans to create a dashboard where landlords can see the platform’s full inventory, see all tenant applications and accept or deny apartment applications.
For tenants, Roomeze plans to introduce services like dog-walking, cleaning and laundry services, and allow renters to pay monthly for furnished rooms on an individual basis — so one roommate in an apartment can pay extra for the room to come furnished without the other roommate having to do the same.
“We’re emulating the benefits of co-living models like WeLive and Common, but not taking on that infrastructure,” Davidovit said.
Roomeze connected with its new investors originally through its core service: the property companies that are now investors had reached out to Roomeze to rent apartments. Now, those investors will provide Roomeze with more apartment inventory, especially student housing, Davidovit said.
Gideon Asset Management founder Isaac Klein said in a statement that he was “blown away by the business model and immediately understood that Roomeze is the future of residential living.”
Roomeze plans to expand beyond New York and New Jersey and aims to be in two more cities within the next two years. The company is considering Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Davidovit said.
In New York, the startup competes with companies like Nooklyn, a shared housing platform focused on the Brooklyn market. The New York market for this service is a large one on its own, in large part because of New York’s high housing cost, which make roommates a necessity for many.
The company charges potential tenants a $100-$200 application fee, but makes most of its money charging a one-month fee to landlords after matching their inventory with tenants.
The platform gets its listings from listing syndicators and referrals between landlord, Davidovit said. Often landlords will turn to Roomeze for three- and four-bedroom apartments they expect to be signed for as shared housing, while keeping studio and one-bedroom listings for themselves, Davidovit said.