Finding the right apartment in a big city is an exhausting job. It takes a long time, it involves traveling from location to location, sometime seeing five or six places a day. And its only getting harder to find the right one as rents go up and more people come to live in the city.
Apartment search engine Apartment List has been trying to make the process easier by clearing out the clutter. And now the company has raised a $15 million round of Series A funding, it was announced on Wednesday. The round was led by Matrix Partners.
The former Vator Splash winner had previously raised $1 million in funding but had otherwise been bootstrapped since then, as it has been a profitable company.
The company says that it will use this first round of venture capital funding to "continue its mission of digitizing the entire rental process from start to finish."
"Our objective is to build out the next phase of Apartment List and establish the first true marketplace for rentals that serves the best interest of renters and landlords throughout the U.S. I envision a future where people are able to complete the entire rentals process—from search to lease signing and paying rent—within our platform," John Kobs, CEO of Apartment List, told me.
"We chose to partner with Matrix because they share our vision of building a multi-billion dollar marketplace, and being bootstrapped for as long as we were really gave us the opportunity to take our time picking the perfect partner."
Since the company is profitable, why raise funding now?
"We have been profitable in the past and have been generating significant revenue for some time now. We wanted to pour capital into further bringing trust and transparency to the rental market. There are still major flaws in the online and mobile rental market, especially with scams," Kobs said.
Founded in 2008 by Kobs and Chris Herndon, Apartment List works kind of like a Kayak for rental properties.
It consolidate millions of listings from across the Web, working with partners like Rent.com, Forrent.com, and others, to deliver it all via one site. The site offers an array of unique features for comparing and sharing properties, as well as information on individual neighborhoods, such as “workability” and “stroller index.”
The San Francisco-based company has been busy over the last few months. In August, it launched a new roommate matching app called (what else?) Roommates.
The app uses Facebook connect to help people find each other. By adding this social component, it is able to matches potential roommates based on similar interests, friends, age, likes, as well as neighborhood and budget preferences.
Then last month the company made its first ever acquisition, buying up rating and reviews platform RentAdvisor in an all stock deal. Apartment List picked the company up to begin incorporating reviews and rating for the properties listed on the site, something that the site had previously lacked.
The deal added more than 20,000 reviews and ratings to the company’s listings.
Apartment List has more than 1.6 million monthly users, and it is also particularly growing strong on the mobile side.
"Mobile in now driving 57% of all of its traffic, and that’s in only the past 4 months," Kobs said.
The company is hoping to launch an Android app by the end of the year if not sooner.
"With mobile adoption rates growing so quickly it’s important that we give Android users the chance to experience Apartment List as soon as possible," Kobs told me. "Two thirds of all web traffic is from Android users, so we anticipate the app adoption to be high."
(Image source: www.apartmentlist.com)