Nestio Launches A New Initiative For Landlords And Brokers To Make Rental Listings More Accurate | TechCrunch
One of the things I have the hardest time with in my angel investing is stealth mode. I recognize, academically, it’s a necessity sometimes. But i like to talk about things. A lot. It’s in my nature, and my profession. Whenever a company I work with is in stealth mode, I feel like a kid on christmas morning, trying to not ruin his sister’s present by blurting out what it is. I manage, but, boy, is it hard.
It’s been doubly hard with Nestio these past nine months. It was my third investment ever, and I was the only investor prior to their entering TechStars. I was intimately involved with the formation of the company, helping Caren whenever I could, introducing her to her cofounders, and seeing them literally every week for the past few years. Caren’s co-founders were old employees of mine. It’s been hellaciously hard not to talk about all the awesome stuff they are doing.
So the fun part, then, of course, is when a company comes out of stealth mode. Boy, so I love that. And here we are! Today, after, god, I don’t know, nine months? A year? Nestio’s coming out of stealth mode.
Now, of course people know Nestio. It’s a TechStars graduate, and one who was featured on the Bloomberg TV show, no less. They have a great consumer product that people use to help them find apartments. It’s got amazing tools to help renters sort through listings from Craigslist and other places. It is an incredibly useful service enjoyed by thousands.
But for the last nine months or so they have been also secretly working to radically improve not just their product, but the very way in which we rent apartments in New York. Let me explain.
The fact of the matter is that the way in which we find an apartment in New York is archaic. And everyone that’s tried to fix this has run into the same problem: that the listings on the web, at the core, are out of date and inaccurate. This is because of the way in which landlords and brokers interact with each other. It’s actually got nothing to do with the consumer, with the internet. The information the consumer needs isn’t even ON the internet. It never has been. Rather, it’s transmitted by email, by fax, and even by hand. The means in which landlords and brokers update each other every day is insanely old school. Until this is fixed, Nestio, or any other apartment hunting site, will never be able to compete with a broker, because the listings don’t make it to the internet at all.
I should also mention at this point that New York is 10% of the US real estate market.
As the Nestio product grew, they heard a common refrain from their users: the product was great, but the listings weren’t up to date. This wasn’t a refrain limited to Nestio. it was, in fact, the case with every single rental product out there.
The solution, obviously, was to get accurate listings. This is what Nestio has been working on. Now, others have made attempts here, but the key is to building something of value and of use by the landlords and the brokers themselves. To build something that fits into the way they work, and easily replaces their current work flow. Others have tried to “build a product” for landlords or brokers, but no one’s ever taken the time to immerse themselves in the lives and businesses of both landlords and brokers. To build a product they want to use. To make something that actually incentivizes them to move to a networked solution. To speak their language. To build the product they need.
This is what Nestio has been doing for the last nine months. And more than that, they haven’t just been building it, they’ve been implementing it. They haven’t just been signing landlords and brokers to biz dev deals or taking their investment money, they’ve been signing on landlord and brokers to actually use the product. And many of them have.
They have literally spent thousands of hours talking with the industry. They have hired people who worked within the industry. They built a product that the industry needs, and loves. They’ve iterated on the product for months, side by side with the owners and brokers. This is a product that owners are committed to, and love. They leave it open on their desktops all day.
And now? The product is built, and landlords are using it, and loving it. They’re are adding listings to Nestio every day. By my rough calculation, we now have something liks 15% of the major players in the New York housing market adding listings to Nestio. That is insane. That is amazing.
There’s more to go, more to do, but it’s so awesome to finally be able to talk about how someone is finally fixing the problem at the core of the New York rental market. And that someone is Nestio. Woo!