Craigslist is great for serial killers and spear-phishers, but less than ideal for anyone looking for housing.
As a platform for renters, Bedly aims to take some of the pain out of the housing-rental process — and it’s hoping that’s a draw for landlords too. Co-founded by Martin Greenberg, formerly of IBM’s cybersecurity team, and Benjamin Chester, Bedly takes care of all the annoying stuff on both ends. For renters, that means furnishing apartments, screening roommates and setting up utilities. For landlords, that means attracting young professionals who don’t want to deal with the hassle of logistics, and offering property rentals through a clean, navigable platform.
Like Airbnb in its frictionless ideal, Bedly instead concentrates on medium to long-term stays (think 3 months, 6 months and so on) rather than a per-night model. Once a renter is in Bedly’s network, the company wants to make it easy for them to move around if a place isn’t quite the right fit. Because 95 percent of its listings are pre-furnished, that’s not as much of an ordeal as it would be with a traditional rental. On top of furniture, Bedly unit pricing factors in furnishings (even bed linens and kitchen items), Wi-Fi and secure access via a pre-programmed digital lock.
“Landlords haven’t changed their products in a very, very long time,” Bedly co-founder Martin Greenberg said. “The old way is antiquated and makes no sense for the new generation of renters.” Greenberg emphasizes mobility for its renters, boasting that the company does away with the concept of a 12-month lease altogether. “You’re not locked in, from a flexibility perspective.”
With a $2.7 million seed round led by Cambridge-based Accomplice, Greenberg hopes that Bedly can expand its rental inventory by partnering with more high-inventory landlords looking to switch things up. The Founder Collective also participated in the round, along with additional angel investors, and the company went through AngelPad’s three-month incubator program in 2015. Right now, the company, formerly known as Launchpad, is operating on a very small scale, with 350 listings across its two markets and twelve full-time employees.
Bedly is live in New York and Boston, two competitive, stressful rental markets filled with young professionals who care less about where they live and how long they’ll be in one spot. In both cities, renters are used to paying substantial broker fees to rent an apartment, so Bedly hopes that its own perks “layer up” to replace those renter costs with something that provides ongoing value.
For young people who aren’t yet practically or psychologically tethered to a static sense of home, Bedly is a step or two beyond dorm life out into the real world. In the on-demand economy, having a place to hang your hat is just one more thing to worry about — and Bedly is hoping that for plenty of users, that’s just one thing too many.