An apartment-finding tool may not sound like a novel startup idea — especially for a developer who’s already sold two companies to the likes of Google and Twitter — but Ori Allon has decided to place a bet.
Launched Wednesday, Urban Compass allows users to search listings by price, location and number of bedrooms, Business Insider reported. It charges a broker fee for the service, but it’s one that’s much lower than the typical fee: the equivalent of one month’s rent. The tool is Manhattan-centric at the moment but Allon plans to expand Urban Compass to other cities soon. Also on the company’s horizon is a feature that will allow Urban Compass to accept rent from tenants on behalf of landlords.
Urban Compass was able to raise $8 million in seed money and hire 63 employees, some of whom came from Google, Twitter and Microsoft. Among its deep-pocketed investors is Goldman Sachs, which doesn’t typically mess with startups. Allon also plans to draw in major real estate companies. He hopes this will generate interest among perspective tenants. He expects Urban Compass to snag 20 to 30 percent of the real estate market in the area.
“I could do another startup, build something very specific, and sell it to a larger company,” Allon told The Verge. “But I’ve done that already, you know. It’s not about the money. I’m ready for a different challenge. I want to build something really, really big.”