Rental app PocketList launched today after less than a year in stealth mode with the goal of making your next apartment hunt a lot simpler.
The app allows renters to see and share apartments that will soon be available before they're listed — reducing the time properties sit vacant and possibly heating up competition among apartment hunters.
The idea came to CEO and co-founder Nick Dazé after a lifetime of hassle renting apartments that he and his friends and family experienced when searching for a new place
PocketList co-founders.Nick Dazé's and Julian Vergel de Dios,
"Renting shouldn't be a dirty word, and it kind of is in American culture. Everybody sees it as a stopping point to being a homeowner off in the middle of nowhere," he said."The way we look at it is the average American spends over a decade being a renter — and they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in that time.
"The experience is horrible," he added.
The app is currently only available in Los Angeles, Dazé's hometown and the nation's second largest real estate market. The city abounds with horror stories about renting. Before the pandemic reduced demand, packed open houses were commonplace and many aspiring tenants armed themselves with reference letters.
A screenshot of PocketList's user interface.
But with $2.8 million in seed funding led by David Sacks' Craft Ventures along with Abstract VC, Wonder Ventures and angel investor Spencer Rascoff, co-founder of Zillow and dot.LA, the company has plans to launch in San Francisco and San Diego later this fall.
PocketList could be a boon for landlords as well. They lose $43 billion a year on properties that are in the process of being turned over, according to the company. The company estimates vacated properties sit on the market for about 26 days on average before they're rented.
Dazé's background in user experience design drove him and his co-founder, Julian Vergel de Dios, to develop what started as a simple Google Sheet listing that was shared among friends looking for leads on soon-to-be vacant apartments. The info proved so popular that the two began offering it up to others.
What made the list so attractive to renters was that it provided insight that landlords would never share and gave other renters anxious to move inside knowledge about when an apartment would be listed.
The app provides data such as how much sunlight a room receives or how responsive a landlord is. It also allows would-be renters to keep their names, numbers and other personal information private until they're ready to rent.
While the app and website is free to renters, the newly added landlord feature will allow them to be notified of when a certain number of their units might be listed, without giving away any personal information. The price for access to information can vary based on how often the landlord chooses to be notified.
"We want to take this model of transparency and honesty and kind of mutual collaboration and benefit," said Dazé. "And that's not just renter to renter it's also renter to landlord. We want to take that spirit of collaboration and we want to make over time, the experience of being a renter as easy, and as accessible as going to Disneyland."
Nomad Homes, which is building a managed marketplace to allow users to not just search but also finance and complete the paperwork for residential real estate, announced Wednesday it has raised a $4 million seed round led by Comcast Ventures with participation from Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, WndrCo, and Class 5 Global.
The company was started in Palo Alto by Helen Chen, a former Blackstone private equity investor who dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to start the company after she discovered how outdated property technology was in the Middle East and Europe. Nomad is now headquartered in Dubai but the engineering team is based in Los Angeles, led by Yury Velikanau, who was formerly the lead engineer at PeerStreet. The seed round will be used to grow Nomad's engineering team as well as grow its marketplace and services.
"L.A. has a deep pool of engineering talent across all verticals, but especially in fintech (e.g., PeerStreet, Open Listings now Opendoor, and Tala)," Chen wrote in an e-mail. "What really stood out to us is that many of the engineers we spoke to also have a passion for real estate, which aligns well with Nomad's mission."
Other co-founders include Chief Product Officer Dan Piehler, previously a senior product manager at Addepar, and Chief Operating Officer Damien Drap, an early employee at Uber who launched and lead Uber Eats across the Middle East.
"Helen and the team bring a unique blend of Silicon Valley DNA, real estate insights and on-the-ground operating experience," said Daniel Gulati, a Managing Director at Comcast Ventures. "We are excited to support Nomad's quest to deliver a superior experience for all market participants with a technology-first approach."
Nomad is focusing on Dubai and eventually other Middle Eastern and European cities because shopping for real estate is much more difficult without the MLS listings that Zillow and Redfin use to create a more user friendly experience in the United States.
Offices will be bigger and oriented around creating a sense of community, omnichannel retail will be more important, brands will have dozens of stores instead of thousands, and cities will provide incentives to lure employees rather than companies. Those are some of the predictions about what will happen in the next few years as the world recovers from the coronavirus, according to Brendan Wallace, co-founder and managing partner at Fifth Wall, Justin Bedecarre, co-founder and CEO of HelloOffice and Jen Nguyen, founding partner of TEAMWERC.
Fifth Wall is the largest venture capital firm focused on real estate tech, known as proptech. It announced the close of its second real estate technology fund last year, with $503 million in dry powder, making it the largest VC fund in Los Angeles. HelloOffice is a technology-powered commercial real estate brokerage that started in the Bay Area and expanded to L.A. last year. TEAMWERC is a San Francisco-based commercial real estate consultancy.
- Is Working remotely Here to Stay And Is It For Everyone? - dot.LA ›
- How Will Offices Change After Coronavirus? - dot.LA ›
- Fifth Wall Venture Firm Is Now a B Corporation - dot.LA ›
- The Future of Commercial Real Estate - dot.LA ›
- The Future of Commercial Real Estate - dot.LA ›
- How the Pandemic Will Change Work - dot.LA ›