San Francisco-Based Zumper Makes the Apartment Rental Process More Intuitive

October 10, 2012

6:01 pm

Anyone who’s looked for an apartment rental in San Francisco in the last two years knows first hand that it’s a raging pain in the you-know-what (ass).  Although there’s little to be done about the stark imbalance between supply and demand, there still stands a lot of room for improvement in terms of user experience.  “Using Craigslist to find a home is awesome,” said 2002.  It’s time for something better.

Enter Zumper, a website out to make the apartment rental process far, far easier for all parties involved: tenants, landlords, brokers & property managers.  By using a map as the platform through which users search and incorporating an price range scale to filter results, Zumper finally offers an intuitive approach to searching for apartments.  The San Francisco based startup currently serves its hometown as well as New York City.

Tech Cocktail caught up with Anthemos Georgiades, Zumper’s founder and CEO, to learn more about his service, going up against Craigslist, and random Brits.

Tech Cocktail:  What was the inspiration behind your startup? What do you enjoy most about working on it?

Anthemos Georgiades

Anthemos Georgiades

Anthemos Georgiades:  As tenants ourselves we couldn’t believe there wasn’t a faster and more reliable way to discover and rent an apartment. We thought there was an enormous opportunity to get this right, once and for all.

We love hearing from our renters who found their dream apartment on Zumper! That’s when we know we’re doing something really valuable.

Tech Cocktail:  Who is your greatest competitor, and how do you differentiate yourself?

Georgiades:  Craigslist is still the killer site in most cities. Obviously their UX is very frustrating but they spent a long time building critical mass and they tend to have more rental listings than anyone else in major markets.

We’re much more UX obsessed, and we hope that our News Feed in particular will save tenants hours of pain when searching for and keeping track of great potential apartments and neighborhoods. And, second, we’re aggressively signing up more and more inventory so that one day not too far away we’ll be able to rival Craigslist on volume of listings too.

Tech Cocktail:  What is the biggest advantage and disadvantage of starting up in San Francisco?

Georgiades:  San Francisco is awesome for early adoption on the user side. Some of the more ‘out there’ products we’ll launch will be tested here first and we can’t wait for the feedback.

The flip-side is that it’s easy to falsely project success here onto different markets. San Francisco is unique in terms of the early traction tech companies can build with highly tech-savvy consumers. But a product that is cool in SF might be seen as overly-complex elsewhere, and this is something we must always remember.

Tech Cocktail:  Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for your startup. How did you deal with it, and what did you learn from it?

Georgiades:  Load testing the site with only a few hours to go until we got on the stage at TC Disrupt. Lesson learned: do this a long time in advance in the future! Not many hours were slept that night.

Tech Cocktail:  What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?

Georgiades:  We have a Penn 2 tennis ball that gets thrown around aggressively when we’re brainstorming or bored. Our HQ in Soma has 25 foot ceilings and stone walls, so it’s perfect for bouncing off and/or accidentally breaking hardware.

Oh and half our team are randomly British!

Zumper was one of the startups recently showcased at the recent Tech Cocktail San Francisco Mixer.

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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