A future where you can file apartment complaints via your phone rather than through the byzantine corridors of recalcitrant landlords and city bureaucracy got a little bit closer last week, when JustFix.nyc won a WeWork Creator Award, and with it, a $180,000 prize.
The Carroll Gardens–based civic tech startup took home the top prize in the Launch category.
“It’s a prize of 180,000, which is pretty crazy,” said JustFix.nyc cofounder Georges Clement by phone Monday morning. “It’s super exciting, obviously, and in a room filled with New Yorkers, it’s a project that resonated with folks.”
Does your apartment not have heat? Take action and enforce your rights! Sign up for https://t.co/WH82qEyunA to document the violations and build your case – we'll send you a thermometer so you can set the record straight! #NYC #NoHeat #TenantPower pic.twitter.com/PNwLn6DYhh
— JustFix.nyc (@JustFixNYC) November 17, 2017
JustFix.nyc is an application that helps renters through the process of making and filing complaints against negligent landlords. The service, which is free, shows how to take pictures and document correspondences, with the goal of bringing a solid complaint to housing court (or showing a landlord you’re serious enough to get them to take you seriously).
“There are more than a million people [in New York] who live in deficient housing, which means they have three or more major violations, things like lead paint and mold that are present and unaddressed, and we want to get this in as many of their hands as possible to help them take action,” Clement said.
To that end, the five-person startup will focus on marketing and advertising in the year to come. The money from this award will go primarily toward that goal. Clement said they’ll focus on digital advertising, mostly on Facebook and Google.
“We’ve always dreamt of subway ads but I think that might be a little out of our price range still,” he said. “We’ll continue to grow our partnerships for referral networks, which includes other nonprofits and government partners. We work with City Council members and Assembly members and work with city agencies as well.”
The WeWork Creator Awards are a project by coworking company WeWork, which will award more than $20 million to promising startups. At its event last week, it awarded a total of $1.1 million to 14 New York companies. The top winners, including JustFix.nyc will advance to a global finals next year with a top prize of $1 million.-30-