One month after acquiring the apartment reviews site RentAdvisor, Apartment List has closed $15 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners. With this raise, the startup will be building out its product, engineering, and sales teams, as well as upping the reach and quality of its apartment profiles and reviews.
These are small steps toward a much bigger goal. CEO John Kobs said that down the line, the aim is for Apartment List to become an end-to-end platform for renters, spanning not only the apartment search but also everything that happens after the fact, including signing the lease and making monthly rent payments.
“The lifetime value of a renter at Apartment List is the entire time that they’re renting an apartment. Instead of it being four to six weeks, I see it as ten years,” Kobs said.
Apartment renting isn’t optimized for the renter, he explained. Generally speaking, hunting for an apartment is a crap experience that involves dodging a lot of scam bullets, and online rent payment services can be clunky. Apartment List is banking on its consumer friendliness to get to the front of the line in the world of rental sites.
At the same time, Apartment List is building an outreach team focused on forging relationships with landlords that helps get their properties listed on the site. If you want to build a cohesive renting ecosystem, it usually helps to have landlords on your side.
The first batch of reviews added to the site through the RentAdvisor acquisition is already live on the site, and Apartment List will continue to push those out over the next month. Mobile now accounts for 57% of total visitors, and the team will be launching their Android app in the next few weeks.
In addition to posting 3D floor plans and high resolution photos of apartments, the team is working on creating virtual tours and walk throughs, which Kobs said users will likely see in 2014.
[Image: Flickr / Rob Young]