(Photo by Juliana Reyes)
The landlord-rating website first experimented with buying $3,000 worth of ads on Pandora last fall, targeting eight zip codes around Temple, Penn and Drexel. In the first two weeks, the site saw its daily visitor count double, but after that, it plateaued.
Now the site has taken to SEPTA, spending $5,000 on ads that will be up for three months in three major SEPTA stations and 80 train cars. On the first day the ad campaign launched in late March, Whose Your Landlord saw its daily visitor count quadruple. Its user base has grown by 27 percent since then, said cofounder Ofo Ezeugwu, 23.
There are 1,800 reviews on the site and about 600 landlords and property managers are listed, he said.
— PHL Startup Leaders (@startupleaders) March 25, 2015
The company also hosted a party last Friday in Northern Liberties where partygoers could get in for free if they rated their landlord. Whose Your Landlord founders were flown out to South by Southwest (and won a pitch competition) and are also being flown to Atlanta for a launch event (it’s part of a prize package from a car company that Ezeugwu said he can’t disclose yet).
Users, users, users. So goes the plight of the consumer-facing tech company.
Whose Your Landord’s revenue model is dependent on building a user base: the company plans on selling leads to landlords whose properties are listed on the site, but it hasn’t launched that part of the site yet, choosing instead to concentrate on acquiring customers. Without customers, there’s little value proposition for the landlords Ezeugwu is approaching. (It’s free for landlords to list properties on the site.)
The startup, part of DreamIt Ventures’ current class, initially launched in 2012, while Ezeugwu was a senior at Temple. (His cofounders are Temple grad Nik Korablin and Ezeugwu’s childhood friend Felix Addison.) Post-graduation, the team left for Brooklyn to join the first class of angel investor David Rose’s AREA real estate tech accelerator, from which they received a $10,000 investment in exchange for 2 percent equity. It made sense to relocate to New York City, Ezeugwu said, because it’s a more active real estate market.
They have seen the advantages of being in Philadelphia, however, to which they returned to join DreamIt earlier this year. It’s the site’s biggest market, beating out New York City.
“You hear this a lot,” Ezeugwu said, “It’s hard to make noise in a noisy room, and that’s New York.”
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