Finding a new place to live is often pretty stressful, especially if you’re a college student on a limited budget who needs to live somewhat close to campus.
Student housing startup Comfy wants to simplify this process by turning it on its head. The service, which is available at all major universities in the country, lets students create a profile listing exactly what they’re looking for — whether that be a set price range, location, number of rooms, etc. Apartment complex managers then contact students within a 24-hour window to try to get new business.
And today, the startup announced that it has raised $600,000 in seed funding.
“We’re looking at Comfy as sort of an eHarmony for student living,” Comfy founder Jordan Wright told VentureBeat in an interview. “Not only can we make the process of finding a new place easier, but the data we’ve already collected helps us give students an estimate for areas they’d like to live in so they aren’t going in blind.”
He explained that Austin, where the startup is based, makes a perfect test case because the area is growing like crazy — making finding a new apartment all the more difficult. “Students have told us they sign leases for the following year starting in October. So it’s like, as soon as you move into a new place, you have to start looking again,” Wright said.
While the startup declined to share its usage numbers, Wright did tell me that college city Provo, Utah — the first market where Comfy was available nearly a year ago — had about 30 percent of the student population (about 50,000) sign up to use the service. Comfy has yet to start generating revenue, but Wright said the company may eventually start charging property managers a fee (or a percentage) per lease signed. For now, the service is free to both students and property owners.
Wright said the startup plans to used the additional capital to further develop its technology and business strategy. The seed fund was led by Dominion Ventures partner Mike Lee, with participation from Austin Ventures and a handful of angel investors.
Founded in 2013, the Austin, Texas-based startup faces competition from OnMyBlock and various apartment guide services.