No one likes the way getting a place to live works in NYC, but, for such a massive pain point, no one has quite managed to disrupt it yet.
One founder had an idea six years ago that by making it easy for one person to stream video of a space to another, that might be a way to break the broker system. Now, though, the product has shifted quite a bit, and Gabriel Berlind, the original creator of Virtual Realty, has brought in two other cofounders, including a broker, to make his vision a reality.
Now the company is actively working to get real estate professionals and landlords to use the product, in order to boost the quantity of listings on its iOS app.
Virtual Realty first went mobile about 18 months ago. Five months ago, according to Berlind and his cofounder, Marco Lombardini, they began working on a new version of the app which should be released for free this summer. The current version has several hundred users and a couple hundred listings, so far.
As the product has iterated, it’s no longer about livestreaming so much as it is making it easier to display videos of spaces online. Videos are searchable in the app but viewable online with the link. The product started on the web but is trying to keep pace with the shift to mobile, updating its website along the way. “In real estate, you can’t just be mobile,” Lombardini said.
For now, Virtual Realty’s revenue model remains to be determined. All the services will be free to all users for now.
Berlind lives near Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. He had the idea for Virtual Realty in college and began work on it while working by day at two different real estate-related companies. Berlind is a licensed real estate professional, but he says he largely got that certification as a way of studying the market.
Virtual Realty is a bootstrapped startup. While it has one technical cofounder, it is currently seeking an iOS developer.