San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Today at lab we will be talking with Heather Johnston about her new startup that is just about ready to launch, called Find My Spot.
Find My Spot helps renters target their perfect apartment. We focus on highly desirable niche neighborhoods, where vacancy rates are low and finding the perfect apartment can be difficult. (As a local Milwaukee renter, I experienced the hassles of traditional apartment searching 3 times in the past 5 years and knew there was a way to make it better). Find My Spot uses a matching algorithm that relates your apartment preferences to the attributes available in the local apartment market. This allows us to calculate your best matches based on compatibility. On the popular East Side of Milwaukee, we created a database that includes detailed information for over 200 listings located in less than 2 square miles. With rents ranging from $325/month to over $3000/month, whether renters are looking for the best value, or want to satisfy demanding preferences, Find My Spot can help.
Specific topic to get feedback from during lab:
I'd like to get people's basic reactions to the overall concept as well as a feel for the current pricing model. There are two service options- Option A and Option B. Option A is aimed at the value conscious renter (usually looking for a lower priced rental) and provides someone with contact information for their top three apartment matches. This is all automated from the website database and offered at a low cost. Option B provides a more time intensive approach to work one-on-one with the renter to determine where the vacancies are that match their preferences and desired move date, setup appointments, and work to negotiate rent with building owners. Currently, there is no "guarantee" that a renter will find an apartment and sign a lease using either option. If I introduce this guarantee into Option B, I need to raise the pricing to compensate for the extra time spent. Several people have mentioned they won't pay unless there is a guarantee but are unwilling to pay the type of rate that this service would require (similar to Boston, NY, Chicago) to support a guarantee. I'm worried the Milwaukee market would not support this higher rate. I conducted market research and sent out a survey to arrive at my initial pricing model, but am thinking of changing the model before launch in March.