After a year of major growth and acquisitions, New York-based Roomi is moving beyond North America and going global.
On Thursday, the roommate-finding app announced its launch in London and the acquisition of Study Abroad Apartments, a site that helps students abroad find places to live. The platform, which currently boasts more than 1 million users in 20 markets across the U.S. and Canada, is planning to follow London with launches in Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Stockholm.
“The biggest cities in the world have the same issues with housing and high rent and people who don’t have enough money and need to share a home,” Ajay Yadav, Roomi’s founder, told Inman. “Once we got established in [New York and California], it opened up the possibility to expand to similar cities all over the world.”
Launched in New York in 2015, Roomi works similarly to dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble. Users swipe through profiles of rooms and roommates on their phone and then have Roomi arrange contracts and perform optional background checks on the potential roommates they’ve selected.
Although the platform has its strongest presence in New York and San Francisco, it has grown fast, rising to the top of the Apple Store’s rankings for housing apps.
The London rollout, which Yadav said is part of the platform’s strategy to reach international students and global markets, comes following a series of recent acquisitions. In March, the company acquired competitor Symbi in a high-profile deal after raising $11 million in Series A funding. It also acquired house-finding platforms The Room Ring and Room.me.
According to Yadav, the key to adding more cities to the app is finding partners to supply housing. Prior to expanding to other cities, he said, they need to find sources of apartments and expand campaigns that get people to use the app.
“We just want people to find these places, shares homes and book it online,” said Yadav. “That is what’s good for our business and that’s why StudyAbroad builds this engine already.”