Resooma, the U.K. accommodation booking platform, is entering the fintech and utilities space with the launch of Resooma Bills, a new product to help “gen rent” manage household expenditures. The Cardiff, Wales-based company’s core offering is an accommodation marketplace primarily targeting students and other renters aged 18-30.
Previously trading under the brand name of University Cribs, Resooma was founded in 2014 by Jack Jenkins, Dan Jefferys and Christian Samuel as a solution aimed specifically at the student lettings market. The company has since broadened its remit to “fix the outdated methods” of renting a home and living together in shared accommodations.
“The existing processes, much of which [are] sitting offline, was a total mess and the numbers of people who have to experience it is climbing rapidly,” says co-founder Jenkins. “With more people living in shared accommodation post University life, we aim to appeal to a time constrained user base that want instant gratification from the products and services they use. We’re building a solution for generation rent.”
As a first step, Resooma set out to eradicate the viewing process, or at least make it digital, and help facilitate bookings online. This includes rolling out “VR tours” for homes, in a bid to gain the trust of renters booking online. “Student and young professionals are time sensitive, often nomadic in choosing where they work and live and as such our platform needs to cater for this,” says Jenkins. The startup also has plans to introduce rental guarantees and “Resooma Verified” stamps for rentals.
“Interestingly, we brand ourselves as a booking platform, a relatively unused term in the market we are in. People are used to booking directly on platforms for short-term accommodation, with the rise of Airbnb and Booking.com but our goal is to make this the norm for people renting medium or longer-term homes,” adds the Resooma co-founder.
Jenkins says the next problem the company wants to solve is around utilities and the splitting of household bills. “We’ve all sat there in our new home, admiring the wall paper for the first two weeks while we wait for the internet or Sky TV to be set up. It’s brainless really, and we’re fixing it,” he says.
“Our product journey will put utilities as part of the rental transaction, allowing users to set up their household bills directly through the platform at the time of booking. What’s more, we’ll allow you to split these bills evenly between all tenants. No more arguments because Tom didn’t pay for his share of the internet bill. Our solution will track utility payments, aim to source the cheapest deals for our customers and then automatically issue each of the housemates one single bill each month for their share of the total house bills.”
While part of the full product vision of Resooma, Resooma Bills will sit as a standalone product as well to allow users the flexibility to use the service for homes found away from the Resooma platform.
Asked to name Resooma’s competitors, Jenkins says the likes of Spotahome or Uniplaces are probably its most direct competition from a product perspective. “We differentiate ourselves through our adaptation of the utilities, as well as our focus on working with letting agents rather than directly with landlords,” he says.
With regards to utilities and bill splitting, London-based Acasa could also be considered a very direct competitor.