VeryApt can simplify your apartment search

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Ashrit Kamireddi is co-founder and CEO of VeryApt, an online apartment guide that allows renters to read reviews and schedule appointments to see potential places. He hopes to expand to other cities.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Ashrit Kamireddi is co-founder and CEO of VeryApt, an online apartment guide that allows renters to read reviews and schedule appointments to see potential places. He hopes to expand to other cities.
Posted: May 15, 2014

A SHRIT KAMIREDDI, 28, of University City, a Wharton grad student who grew up in Alabama, is co-founder & CEO of VeryApt, an online apartment guide. VeryApt won $10,000 and $15,000 in in-kind services earlier this month in the Wharton Business Plan Competition.

Q: How'd you come up with the idea for VeryApt?

A: I lived in five apartments in three cities after college [at Princeton]. It was a difficult process trying to find the right place to live. Before coming to Wharton, I worked for three years at TripAdvisor in marketing and product development. I saw how users approached the excitement of taking a trip. It seemed odd that people didn't feel the same about where they were going to live.

Q: What's VeryApt do?

A: It combines personal recommendations with user reviews to help a renter search for the right apartment and schedule an appointment to see it.

Q: The biz model?

A: We get revenue by charging building owners a subscription per building. Basically they get leads from our site.

Q: You're staying here?

A: We've received a lot of support from Wharton. It's important to maintain those relationships, and our law firm is here. We're aiming to be in Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago and Atlanta next year.

Q: Your competitors?

A: There are others in this space, but they're in New York and San Francisco. Our competitors are large sites, rent.com and apartmentguide.com. They started out years ago with listings in classifieds and just moved it all online. We have user-generated reviews and data like amenities, photos and neighborhood guides.

Q: When did the business actually launch?

A: We had a soft launch in spring 2013 and spent the year refining the product. Renters started using the site in January.

Q: Your customers?

A: The people who pay us are [apartment] building owners, and their fee ranges from $1,500 for a small, multifamily building to $3,500 for a large apartment building or high-rise. Obviously, the people we consider sort of a second customer are the renters. We need them to view us as a destination so we have cachet with building owners. We currently have about 25 building subscriptions. We work with Allan Domb [Real Estate], Reinhold [Residential] and Pro [Real Estate].

Q: Do you have any outside investors yet?

A: We're talking to angels locally and some larger [venture capitalists]. Trying to raise $1 million by September.

Q: How big a biz is this? A: Four full-time employees, three co-founders and a developer. We'll add two part-time Wharton interns this summer. As for revenue, we have $50,000 [so far this year].


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