Over the coming weeks we’ll be interviewing our teams to better understand who they are and what they’re building. This week we would like to introduce you to RoomFlick.
Ross Nichols – Co-Founder
Ross has been working in digital marketing for 10 years across media and technology brands. He loves gigs, most sports and is always in search of the next best burger (currently Bleeker St, if you were wondering).
Amit Shah – Co-Founder
Amit has been in mobile for the majority of his professional life. Other than start-ups he follows the majority of sports and continues to believe each year that Arsenal will win the league. Each year he is disappointed…
Martin Bowley – Chairman
Martin is a media veteran complete with grey hair and has held senior and board positions across TV, radio, cinema, magazines and mobile. In his spare time he loves rugby and a good glass of red.
Welcome RoomFlick! Please introduce yourselves to the Pi Labs community.
Thanks for having us! RoomFlick uses social connections to match people with spare rooms and properties. It’s like Spareroom meets Tinder for the rental market.
How did RoomFlick come into being?
Every week on Facebook we were seeing our friends share updates like ‘Does anyone know anyone looking for a room?’ so we set about creating a solution to that problem. More often than not, people would rather live with somebody they know, a friend of a friend or with somebody that shares the same interests as them.
My background is in marketing and I met Amit and Martin through mutual friends. They have a huge amount of experience in building mobile apps so it was always going to be a good fit. We began working on RoomFlick in December last year and launched our beta version in June. It’s been a great journey so far and now we’re part of Pi Labs; we’re really looking forward to the years ahead.
What’s your business model?
Initially we’ll be looking at premium advertising once we’ve established a solid user base. Longer term, we want to create a platform for landlords and tenants and bring some transparency to the rental market. We have lots of ideas for monetising this audience and we’ll be experimenting to see which ones resonate best with our customers.
How do you aim to change the market?
With spiralling rental costs, more people are sharing properties than ever before. Finding the right place – and the right people to live with – isn’t easy. The process of renting a spare room hasn’t really changed since listings sites like Craiglist first came on the scene 20 years ago. 55% of Londoners are renting and a staggering 90% of those people are living in shared accommodation. We think it’s really important to find somebody you love living with rather than just have to put up with. Our ambition is to make RoomFlick the best way to find your perfect flatmate. With 17m people renting in the UK and over 215m renting in Europe, we think this is a great place to start building our brand. Who knows what the future holds but maybe in 1-2 years we’ll be working alongside a larger online property platform, focusing on the flatsharing market.
What brought you to the Pi Labs programme and where do you want to be by the end of it?
We heard the programme had a great reputation in the proptech space, and were delighted to find out we’d been selected ahead of over 100 other proptech businesses. For us, the biggest benefit of being involved with Pi Labs is the relationships we’re building with the best experts in the industry. It’s been incredible so far. By the end of the 13 weeks we’ll hopefully be close to securing our next round of funding and gearing up for a busy 2016.
What does success mean to you?
Success to us is building a product that people love and consider the default place for finding a spare room.
To close, which entrepreneur do you admire?
It’s probably a cliche now, but Richard Branson is right up there. He’s had major successes and a few failures along the way, which I think makes him more humble than most. He’s taken on so many established markets with his products and services, and I’d like to think that we can do the same within the rental market.
How to get in touch?