Zumper founders aim crosshairs at brokers, landlords with new pro service

Apartment search site launched in September with $1M in venture capital

TRD New York /
May.May 31, 2013 01:30 PM

Rental search website Zumper has unveiled an upgraded version of its website and mobile app targeted specifically at real estate brokers, company executives told The Real Deal.

Two former Google engineers, Anthemos Georgiades and Taylor Glass-Moore, launched Zumper this past September, aiming to court both renters looking for apartments and landlords, brokers and property managers seeking to advertise their listings. The San Francisco-based company, which has an office in the Flatiron District, donated by one of its venture capital backers, said it has raised $1 million in venture financing.

Though the marketplace for such websites is crowded, Georgiades and Glass-Moore — now the CEO and chief operating officer of the company, respectively — stand by the fact that what makes their product unique is that real estate pros can post listings on-the-go. They can also use the company’s iPhone app to photograph and advertise listings that can be instantly synched to Zumper and converted to Craigslist postings.

The new service, ZumperPro, allows brokers, property managers and landlords who post rental listings to keep listing addresses private and speeds up the process for brokers to post ads and photos on Craigslist through the app.

“Speed really does matter in this industry,” Glass-Moore said. “People shouldn’t be spending too much time posting listings. They should be spending time showing listings, acquiring listings. Technology can really speed the whole thing up.”

Though Glass-Moore declined to disclose how many users Zumper has, the site currently has about 6,000 rental listings in Manhattan, Glass-Moore said.

In addition to letting landlords and brokers post their exclusives, Zumper works with clients — including Douglas Elliman and Citi Habitats — that post open listings, increasing the number of available apartments offered on the site while reducing fraudulent and out-of-date listings, Glass-Moore said.

“Exclusives are just one side of the inventory,” he added. “There are a lot of other listings that are out there.”

Zumper currently provides rental listings for New York, Chicago and San Francisco, but plans to expand nationally “very soon,” Glass-Moore said.

However, expansion is not without its hurdles.

Joe Charat, the CEO of fellow New York rental search site Naked Apartments, warned that Zumper and other start-up real estate websites have to be careful that their growth doesn’t affect the quality of listings in the overall market.

“How does [Zumper] get hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to actively use the site each month?” Charat said. “Once they’ve done that — and that’s not an easy challenge — how do they ensure that its growth doesn’t deteriorate the quality of the marketplace?”

For example, Craigslist has had great success, but it has also hurt New York City rental searches because of the plethora of sham listings on the site, Charat said.

“That model created a lot of friction in the marketplace,” he added.

Charat also noted that the way the company makes money is very important in terms of transparency.

“It has to make sure that its model and the amount of money it collects from transactions doesn’t get in the way of a smooth operating [process],” he said.

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