Cozy officially launches to transform the renter market

Bambi Francisco Roizen · June 6, 2013 · Short URL:

A new platform to bring renters and landlords together in a more transparent and efficient way

Anyone who's rented property knows the process of dealing with renters is typically this: Get their paper application, run credit reports, check references and social profiles. It's not hugely broken, and it works. But in a world in which interactions between two parties can be handled with more efficiency and transparency, there's opportunity to improve this process. 

Hoping to transform the landlord-tenant relationship, Cozy launched out of private beta Thursday morning, as a new way for renters and landlords to interact. Cozy, which raised $1.5 million last June from Social+Capital, Kevin Rose (now part of Google Ventures), and prolific angels Jason Calacanis and Gary Vaynerchuk, was founded in 2011. 

"This process [applying for apartments] is broken," said Gino Zahnd, co-founder and CEO of Cozy. "You hand a stranger a piece of paper [for an application] and a check with an application fee of between $25 and $75." That paper has tons of personal information that, if misused, could hurt the potential renter. Zahnd has first-hand experience when an application he had submitted caused his credit rating to drop. Apparently, the landlord checked his credit score six times in three hours. Not only was he out the application fee, his credit rating was damaged (at least temporarily).  

"Cozy gives renters a brand new level of control," he said. 

While the company has been in private beta mode since last October, it already has 3,000 landlords in 46 states and 320 markets. It's also processing a few million in rent payments a year. At the moment, Cozy doesn't take a transaction fee. Rather it charges landlords a flat $9 per month, per renter fee. 

So what's the draw?

"For landlords, we're making it super easy to accept applications online and collect rent and screen applicants," said Zahnd. Cozy even has its own payment platform, 

"For renters, we're making it easy to pay rent and apply to rental properties," Zahnd added. "If you find a place on Craigslist or Zillow, you can share your profile. You can also see who looks at your profile... The profiles are easy because you fill it out once, and it's re-usable. You can verify your current employment and request testimonials."

By giving renters a profile they can use an application, Cozy hopes this will do away with the application fees. Of course, prospective renters will still have to pay a fee for landlords to run their credit reports.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Author of "Unequally Yoked"; Co-founder Vator and Invent Health; Former Columnist/correspondent Dow Jones MarketWatch; Business anchor CBS affiliate KPIX

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Cozy makes renting easy for both landlords and renters. With world-class customer service and first-of-their-kind products for rent payments, applying/screening, and personal security, Cozy is the best way for small landlords and renters to get things done.

Founded in March 2012 and based in San Francisco, Cozy's mission is to radically change the rental real estate experience with a focus on beautifully designed products, transparency, privacy, and total control of one's personal information.  

Cozy is backed by The Social+Capital PartnershipGoogle Ventures, and noted angel investors Tim FerrissJason Calacanis, and Gary Vaynerchuck. Our founders are former lead designers and engineers from FlickrKosmix (now @Walmartlabs), Splunk, and Capital One.



Gino Zahnd

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CEO and Co-founder of Cozy. Ex-Flickr, Splunk, Kosmix.