New site lets brokers pitch renters

Looking for an alternative to Craigslist? Two entrepreneurs have launched a Web site to connect potential renters with brokers. Shankar Desai and Peter Treadway, who met in elementary school, launched to provide a way for brokers to pursue renters whose incomes and needs match the brokers’ listings.

“We came up with a solution that actually provides value for both groups [brokers and renters],” Desai said. “We see ourselves as a facilitator for these two groups to more efficiently connect.”

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As of mid-September, 168 renters and 54 brokers from a range of firms had registered for the site. When renters sign up, they input basic information about their incomes and apartment needs and undergo a credit check on the site. Brokers can search for renters who match their listings and make offers. Brokers — or landlords, who Desai and Treadway also hope to bring to the site — are charged $2 per offer. Most of the brokers who’ve signed on so far work in Manhattan, and a few work in Brooklyn, a breakdown that matches the site’s renter demographics, Desai said.

“Brokers get a bad rep, and this site allows really good brokers to distinguish themselves and find a new way to generate business,” he said. Renters can review brokers they work with, and brokers can request reviews. “It’s been really fruitful for those early adopter brokers that use the site,” he said.

The idea behind is “something we can take with changes to different cities and different markets,” Desai said. But for now, the company is focused on New York City. “We want to grow at a pace where we have renters on there and we have enough brokers and listings on there matching their needs.”