Spencer Rascoff-backed rental platform PocketList launches in LA

Los Angeles /
Jul.July 17, 2020 12:45 PM
Spencer Rascoff and Nick Daze (Credit: John Lamparski/Getty Images)
Spencer Rascoff and Nick Daze (Credit: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

UPDATED, Tuesday, July 21, 11:17 a.m.: A rental listings platform backed by Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff went live in Los Angeles this week.

PocketList launched with 20,000 units listed on its platform, the company said this week. The platform is designed to speed up tenant turnover by allowing renters to share with other users an upcoming move-out date as well as information about their experience with their units.

CEO Nick Dazé said “renters have been forced to wait until the last minute forever,” and sharing move-out info and other data can alleviate “a huge uncertainty for their fellow renters.”

“They’re the only ones who know when they’ll be moving in the future, so the stressful ‘wait and see’ issue can easily be eliminated for renters and landlords,” he said.

PocketList announced it launched with $2.9 million in seed funding, led by David Sacks-led Craft Ventures. Abstract VC and Wonder Ventures also participated in the Seed round. Spencer Rascoff invested independently.

Rascoff has been busy this year. In January he launched a Southern California tech industry news website called dot.LA and in April he left Zillow’s board of directors. Rascoff stepped down or was pushed out of his role as CEO in February of last year.

PocketList, which was in development for a year, claims that the average unit on the platform is shared 67 days before the landlord is given notice of a move-out and 97 days before the unit appears on other listing sites.

If that 30-day difference is the last month of a renter’s lease, a landlord isn’t getting a listing up until his current tenants move out, meaning they’ll likely miss a full month of rental income. That roughly lines up with PocketList’s conclusion that rentals sit vacant for an average of 26 days every time they turn over.

Renters appear to gain the most from using the platform, but it will also have a portal for landlords and property managers called PocketList Pro.

The company said that service will allow landlords to communicate with potential tenants once their prior tenant shares their move-out date on the platform.

Planned features include neighborhood information and landlord-renter communication tools, including a rental application submission feature.

Another similar startup in the space recently raised $5.7 million in a seed round. New York City-based DoorKee similarly incentivizes tenants who know they’re leaving their apartment, but the tech company pays those departing tenants an average of $1,000 by giving notice up to 100 days out.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Spencer Rascoff invested in PocketList independently, not as part of Wonder Ventures’ investment.


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