Need to know
British spare room startup Kangaroom bootstraps US launch
Rayhan Rafiq Omar talks to one startup trying to reinvent the spare room market
Jinder Sidhu, a London-based developer who founded Kangaroom.net last year, has launched his service across all 50 US states.
The launch coincides with the site changing strategy, moving from being a listings aggregator to a fully-fledged marketplace for spare rooms.
Wholesale improvement to spare room listings
Kangaroom helps tenants find a place to live, and allows landlords to rent out their spare rooms in the simplest way possible.
It claims to be the first spare room listings site to support full-screen images across both desktop and mobile browsers, bringing the image-centric style of Zoopla and Rightmove to the spare room market.
Founder, Jinder, says:
We’ve built a product that leverages the latest technology to make the search and listing experience easier and faster. We’ve caught some of the incumbents sleeping – they haven’t updated their offerings in years
Solving the nightmare of spare room listings
Jinder’s inspiration for the site came from his struggle to find somewhere to live in London.
Property Portal competition aplenty
While Rightmove dominates the mindset of home buyers and families renting whole properties, those looking to rent a spare room have been serviced primarily by listings sites including Gumtree and Spareroom.
When asked about his competitors and challenges: “I most admire MoveFlat – it’s not aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a simple site and has high quality listings. Our biggest challenge is presenting high-quality, accurate listings that aren’t spam from agencies or scammers.”
From aggregator to self-service portal
Users can now list directly onto Kangaroom without the need for a third party service.
The service is free for both tenants and landlords, but in the future they plan to offer landlords added value services. As their user base grows and the technology scales they hope to monetise.
Kangaroom currently boasts 40,000 active listings with tens of thousands of site visitors a month; this in a market of half a million room listings they claim is worth £2.4bn.
Sole technical founder
Bootstrapping without investment and working from a co-working space in London, Jinder intends to seek investment after he has concrete figures to back up the new version of the site.
So far the startup has been supported by Jinder contracting as a developer for other companies and projects.
A means to an end-to-end
For the future of Kangaroom, Jinder states: “the ‘holy grail’ is to offer a full end-to-end service that manages messaging, viewings, rent payment and third-party services.”
Although cagey when probed what specific features would be next, he did allude to using their database of 1.5 million rooms to provide insights to users and landlords as a key strategy.
The first data they publicly released was an infographic of price changes across London.
Despite being bootstrapped, Kangaroom has shown significant traction in London’s competitive property market.
With their march into the US market in full swing, this could be one British property tech startup to watch out for.
Image Credit: Stephanie Bosset
Rayhan Rafiq Omar (@rayhanrafiq) is founder of property tech start-up Wigwamm, which operates from the basement beneath his family’s property management business on Lavender Hill, SW11.