An apartment-finding tool may not sound like a novel startup idea –- especially for a developer who's already sold two companies to the likes of Google and Twitter -– but Ori Allon has decided to place a bet.
Launched Wednesday, Urban Compass allows users to search rental listings by price, location and number of bedrooms, Business Insider reported. It charges a broker fee for the apartment-finding service, but it's one that's much lower than the typical fee: the equivalent of one month's rent. Some features that truly set this platform apart from others like Craigslist or Hotpads is it will allow prospective tenants to see who's moving in and out of apartments in real time and find surrounding venues that might interest them.
The apartment-finding tool is Manhattan-centric at the moment but Allon reportedly plans to expand Urban Compass to other cities soon. Also on the company's horizon is a feature that will allow Urban Compass to accept rent from tenants on behalf of landlords.
Urban Compass was able to raise $8 million in seed money and hire 63 employees, some of whom came from Google, Twitter and Microsoft. Among its deep-pocketed investors is Goldman Sachs, which doesn't typically mess with startups. Allon also plans to draw in major real estate companies. He hopes this will generate interest among perspective tenants. He expects Urban Compass to snag 20 to 30 percent of the real estate market in the area.
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