All too often we see yet another startup appearing on the scene concentrating on a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Before you can mutter the digital mantra "technology for technology's sake," it disappears, never to be seen again.
Frontdoor doesn't seem to be one of those startups. Co-founder Alain Kapatashungu and his team of city dwellers had grown frustrated with how tedious the old way of searching for an apartment had become. Their research taught them that renters take on average 5,040 minutes to find an apartment, 45 percent of inquiries never receive a reply and a disturbing 50 percent of listings were either fake or scams.
Meanwhile, landlords were equally as frustrated with fruitless calls and emails to schedule showings. They also learned that 50 percent of tenant inquiries don't meet the rental requirements. The old way of doing things seemed to be responsible for a complete breakdown in communication between the renters and landlords. But why do people just accept it?
This was the moment that the concept of an artificially intelligent personal assistant called Frontdoor became a reality. The startup removes the hassle of countless emails and replaces them with an app to schedule viewings on behalf of busy professionals.
Kapatashungu describes himself as a French entrepreneur. His journey has seen him travel from the war and genocide in Rwanda to building an artificial intelligence app in Silicon Valley to empower city dwellers.
In the U.S. alone, Millennials will hit an all-time high of 75 million renters in 2019. One million immigrants are expected to enter the U.S annually each year until then. Armed with a wealth of statistics around the current and future climates, it was evident something needed to change.
The end goal was to change everything we hate about finding somewhere to live. On average it can take seven emails and and four phone calls to schedule one viewing--and this often leaves us feeling deflated. Frontdoor waves goodbye to emails or lengthy phone calls and replaces with an invisible agent called Stew.
Stew acts as your virtual concierge during your apartment search, scheduling viewings without subjecting you to the unproductive emails that come along with scheduling.
With access to your calendar and the information you have provided the app, it instantly knows your availability and preferences. Frontdoor can schedule viewings and add them to your calendar without you having to lift a finger.
Although still in Beta the team are already seeing an incredible demand for this viewing scheduling solution. Frontdoor says they are on track to hit 100,000 registered city dwellers (waitlisted) from San Francisco to New York by July 2016.
Check out my interview with Frontdoor co-founder Alain Kapatashungu, where he shares his fascinating and somewhat inspiring story.