RadPad is one of those startups that comes from a founder’s real-world experience — specifically, Jonathan Eppers (a former product manager at eHarmony and Myspace) said that he was trying to find a new apartment in Los Angeles, and he was frustrated to discover that the process is still more complicated and painful that it needs to be.
That was last summer. Fast forward a year and RadPad is getting ready to launch into Austin, Texas, its fourth market, and it has also raised $200,000 in funding. And while it launched as an iOS app, it just released the web version of its product, too.
But before we get to the new stuff, you may be wondering how RadPad actually fixed the issues that Eppers was complaining about. He said that his goal is to make the process as simple as possible on both sides. One of RadPad’s big differentiators is its emphasis on photos. (The site has been described as “a hybrid of Craigslist and Instagram.”) Other sites certainly have photos, too, but RadPad really puts them front-and-center when it shows users listings, and it even requires that landlords include three photos to be listed. Users search the listings using a few simple drop-down menus, and it’s all location-based, so you can always open the app and see a map of available apartments nearby. It’s easy to upload those photos from mobile — Eppers said 35 percent of listings are posted directly from smartphones.
The RadPad app has been downloaded 24,000 times, and around 2,500 L.A. renters open the app every day. College students are one of the big user groups, so it makes sense that RadPad is launching in Austin, too (its other markets are Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco).
Here’s another reason for the Austin launch: One of RadPad’s investors is real estate company Post Investment Group, which Eppers said owns thousands of units in Austin. When they first met to discuss the investment, Eppers said he was told, “Jon, you’ve got to look at Austin.” And indeed, he found a growing rental market with a hot tech scene and relatively little competition.
The other investors include angel Tom McInerney, Viddy co-founder Chris Ovitz, and Los Angeles accelerator Amplify. The company is looking to raise a larger round now, Eppers said.
As for how RadPad plans to make money, Eppers said the service is currently free for both renters and landlords. Eventually, he wants to start charging for some premium landlord services. For example, they could start delivering push notifications to RadPad users who are near an available apartment.
“We want to use technology to enhance the experience on both sides,” he said.
You can download the RadPad iOS app here.