8.6.21

A European PropTech View, with Lauren Dannay, Whoomies

Welcome back to 'A European PropTech View, by Dilan Omari-Clark' our Q&A focused on European PropTech's.

8.6.21

Our Q&A series is an opportunity for our European team, headed up by Dilan Omari-Clark to discuss all things PropTech, Start-ups, and Career with different founders from across the continent. Each month we will ask our guests some burning questions and quiz them about their product, we hope you find it insightful and enjoy getting to know the founders as much as we have. 

This week we have been in touch with Lauren Dannay, COO & Co-founder of Whoomies

Whoomies is focused on delivering digital tools to improve the shared living experience of both tenants and real estate owners by fostering trust and community experiences. The App is the only marketplace which allows prospective roommates to connect with other prospective roommates, through a smart-matching algorithm, to find their perfect match and allows them to search through a list of shared accommodations. It allows the operations team of co-living and student residences to quickly and smartly allocate residents in rooms in order to reduce re-allocation requests and improve the community experience. The company was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Paris. 

How did you find yourself working in the PropTech sector?

I graduated from Paris Dauphine University with a Master’s degree in Finance & Wealth Management and with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Paris Assas University. I started my career as a Private Banker at Natixis Wealth Management where I was in charge of a €300M+ portfolio investment for 3 years.

In 2017, after having a hard time in finding both a compatible roommate and a great place to live while living in Paris, New York or Singapore, my best friend Alexandre Assal and I decided to quit our jobs to tackle shared-housing pains by creating our own mobile app. The initial idea of “Tinder for roommates” that we launched in 2018 has evolved a lot since then to bring more and more innovation to both tenants and landlords. We’re committed to building an easy to use and innovative rental marketplace which aims to help millions of people get the most out of their coliving experience.

At what point did you realise there was a gap in the market, and you had the product for it?

Consumers - especially millennials - are progressively adopting new lifestyles, as independance, flexibility, community, and sharing are becoming their key values, congruent with changes in the society around them. This is why shared housing alternatives have been booming over the past years, both in terms of investments and market share. 

Meanwhile, the traditional real-estate marketplaces have not evolved over the past few decades, rendering it incapable of providing a relevant answer to the necessity of access to housing, flexibility, trust and user experience. Alex and I, like 1 out of 3 millennials worldwide, experienced the harsh reality of finding the right place to live in as people to live with in big cities around the world: it was the perfect time to steer the ship in the right direction! 

Whoomies was born out with the mission to create tomorrow‘s shared rental experience. We aim to provide technological solutions to support this transition towards a more flexible, community-oriented way of life; by making both shared-housing rental processes and communal living unique experiences through our app and our website.

What are the challenges in PropTech for your company?

Real-estate is an old-fashioned industry that needs time to shift towards new usages. The COVID-19 pandemic has fast- forwarded technology adoption from a nice-to-have to a pressing need. Even though the co-living/shared-accommodation market is rapidly growing in France, we still need to advocate the benefits of our solutions. To thrive in today’s experience and data-driven world, real-estate companies need to keep up with its innovative nature and embrace technology so it can further develop and optimize their processes. 

Operators have to acknowledge as well as to adapt themselves to the concerns of the tenants. Our goal is also to empower coliving operators and residential landlords in improving their rental processes. Big corporations are very fond of innovation and eager to adopt them, yet their decision-making process remains often very long before securing a deal.

Future of PropTech, what do you think is going to be important this year?

In the context of global pandemic, housing has never been as important in people’s lives. Remote working has redefined our relationship with our homes. This creates a lot of opportunities for new businesses and I believe that the proptech solutions have to help building towards a more conscious, sustainable and balanced housing sector. Proptech companies have to focus on bringing relevant answers to both construction and living experiences.

What are your long-term plans for your business?

Whoomies has grown tremendously in the past months. We’ve doubled our team and started to unlock additional streams of revenues through new features for both the supplier and demand sides. Technology and innovative user experience will be key to win the market and we’re preparing our model to scale internationally. Our vision is to become the one-stop shop for mid-long term shared-housing rentals. Having built a human-centered marketplace based on our rich database and strong networks within the real estate sector, we now have a unique understanding of market needs, giving us a one of a kind positioning compared to other proptech player.

What is a frequently asked question you get about your product?

We acknowledge the benefit of using Whoomies when it comes to find a place to live in or a roommate to live with, but providing the supply beforehands is key. What is the benefit of using Whoomies to list your rooms on your listing platform to potential tenants and what are some of its features?"

Whoomies’ main platform is the first online booking marketplace dedicated to a wide range of shared accommodation models (i.e. student accommodation, coliving and flatshares). 

From the beginning of the tenant’s journey of finding a new home, to the reservation of the room, Whoomies has turned shared accommodation rentals into a seamless, safe and efficient process for all parties involved: whether it’s tenants, landlords or operators. 

Our features intend to : 

  • Optimise rental vacancy by providing qualified renters, 
  • Enhance the living experience through data analysis, 
  • Secure information thanks to background checks and GDPR compliance processes, 
  • Save time thanks to real-time notifications and applications
  • And soon to be launch, emphasize trust through online booking to secure the rent.  

Whoomies has now a community of more than 100,000 amazing users on our platforms, coming from more than 90 countries, with a median age of 26 yo, so we’re able to attract tenants from everywhere fo landlords and coliving operators using our platform.

 

 

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