RentCheck is the easiest, safest, and best way to find your perfect apartment in New York City. In addition to the usual search features like price, location and size, we add in a new dimension: the ability to sort based on quality of life. These include things that renters don’t know about before they sign a lease, like whether or not the landlord takes care of the building, or if you can expect to run into trouble.
We use vast amounts of public, private and open data, to produce a unified rating that represents the quality of living in a given apartment. No one else calculates it the way we do, and it’s what makes our service unique.
The result: renters can easily find the best priced apartment in their ideal neighborhood and can feel good knowing they are moving into a clean, safe and secure environment.
It’s hard enough to find a good apartment within your budget. Throw in trying to guess if there are going to be any problems with landlords or management before you sign a lease, and the process becomes impossible.
Finding a rental without a broker is too much work. Brokers are expensive, don’t always do much, and often aren’t aligned with the renter’s interests. Listing sites are full of scams and provide little intel about the property or the broker. No-fee rentals are hard to find and not consolidated in a single location. No transparency means you don’t know what a building or landlord is like until you have already moved in. Above all, landlords hold all the power with no accountability.
We started RentCheck because of our own personal bad experiences with landlords. Renters have no recourse when things go south, and it’s time for that to change. The only way to initiate change in the housing market is to hit the people responsible for the corruption – bad landlords and management companies – in the place that matters most to them, their wallets.
By ranking apartment listings based on quality of life, we are naturally promoting the good guys. One day, these landlords will be able to charge a premium for their quality service, and bad buildings won’t get rented as easily as in they did in the past.
Our backend turns cluttered, hard to understand public data and records into an actionable list format, identifying the best and worst buildings in the city. We provide renters with:
Real-time apartment listings, updated every 24 hours
Access to an unparalleled level of transparency in the Real Estate market
Peace of mind
Here’s the short version of how we’re making this happen:
Our proprietary database knows who owns what building in NYC – no one else has this functionality. This allows us to truly build a platform that forces accountability by landlords.
RentCheck currently uses NYC’s #311 system, and we hired Bob Pesner, the former Chief Enterprise Architect from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development to ensure quality.
What makes RentCheck unlike any other apartment hunting website out there today? Here’s the rundown:
While all of our competitors offer nearly identical products and listing databases, we offer a fundamentally different way to search based on quality of life.
Our search process simulates what a good broker should do in the first place, but it is machine-powered and highly scalable. In addition to that, it helps us identify bad landlords, estimate the value of a property and recommend the perfect place for someone to live.
Our user interface makes us look simple and straightforward, but as you can see – the behind the scenes algorithms that make our service tick are highly complex. To provide our quality of life scores, we use open data that describes about how landlords fix problems and allow users to post reviews about their experiences.
Because of this score, users who come to RentCheck will often find two nearly identical apartment rentals, in the same neighborhood, same price, same size – but one building is an A and one building is an F.
Which one would you choose?
As more people use RentCheck to find their apartment, the overall livability of the city will improve. All we are doing is directing the money out of bad landlords pockets and into good landlords. As a society, we need to motivate bad landlords to clean up their act, and fast – if they want to stay in business.
Three key items sit on our horizon:
1. Secure investments to grow our product and services.
2. Expand to Toronto, San Francisco and beyond.
3. Acquire 100 000 reviews on properties internationally.
Yale Fox, Founder & CEO
Yale has been interested in real estate from a young age, as he sold his first home when he was only 11 years old for his father’s real estate agency. A born Entrepreneur, Yale spent a decade in the music industry while attending university and receiving a Bachelors of Science in Biology. At 23 he operated a nightclub, and had published two thesis studies, both of which received international acclaim. His work brought him to New York City, where he published one of the most important research papers about the music industry and how song popularity can be modeled and predicted using big data. His work was recognized in 2011 as a TED Fellow. Yale strives on identifying systems with unequal distributions of power and creating technologies to establish balance. RentCheck is a natural fit that incorporates everything he has done in the past and his highly technical background is eclipsed only by his passion for business.
Melissa Messina, Management Consultant
Melissa is a Founder of RentCheck and a Jill of all trades. She handles logistics and planning for the majority of daily operations. Additionally, she brings 10 years of Inside and Outside Sales, Customer Service, Account Management and Human Resource experience to the company and is a fundamental requirement for our growth.
Bob Pesner, Advisor & Database Architect
Bob Pesner has worked in IT for 35 years as a Programmer, System Designer, Architect and Trainer on small, medium and large-scale systems. He recently retired from the city of New York, where he was the Chief Enterprise Architect of a medium-sized city agency. He is currently consulting, specializing in systems integration, middleware and city government open data.
Brian Pullen, Head of Product
Brian Pullen is a Designer and Entrepreneur currently working as design director at TheWorkingGroup. Throughout his career, he has helped clients establish business models, design philosophies, management structures and create forward-thinking digital strategies. Brian has been creative director of more than 200 digital projects ranging from websites to apps and games in his 12-year career. Recently these projects have been with a diverse group of great organizations like Playstation, Random House, Rogers, Corus, Canada Goose, Grammys, Nickelodeon, Kobo, Hasbro, Aon, Ryerson, Sony Pictures and many more. Passionate about the startup community, Brian has also been a design and product advisor to well over 50 startups and 10 accelerator programs across North America. Now Brian is bringing his experience in the rental space, product design and startups to make RentCheck the leading destination for renters.
John Baker, Lead Engineer
John Baker is a seasoned Full Stack Developer with previous experience in building multiple mapping based applications. He has worked in both agency and product settings, and has lead teams of engineers. Most recently he has worked with great brands like Sapient, Disney and Random house.
Luke Hutchison, Principal Data Scientist
Luke Hutchison grew up in New Zealand and completed a PhD at MIT CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) and a post doc at Harvard Medical School. He has 30 years of experience in software engineering, specializing in machine learning and big data analytics. Luke worked as tech lead for Ray Kurzweil’s artificial intelligence team at Google. He is a TED Fellow and a Singularity University alum.
Adrian Hong, Advisor
Adrian Hong is Managing Director of Pegasus Strategies LLC, a strategic advisory firm. Adrian was an inaugural TED Fellow and TED Senior Fellow, and is also a mentor at Spark Labs, Korea’s premier startup accelerator. Adrian was a visitor at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (2010 – 2011), a Visiting Lecturer teaching “America, Human Rights and Foreign Policy” at Korea’s Ewha University (2008), and was selected as a 2009 Arnold Wolfers Fellow at Yale University (2009).
Sunny Bates, Advisor
Sunny is an Author, Influencer, Serial Entrepreneur and Advisor to countless companies including Kickstarter, TechStars, General Electric and TED. A natural and professional networker, Sunny helps connect the dots and bring ideas to life. She has been advising business executives for the past 25 years.
Steven Pulver, Advisor
Steven is a Corporate Lawyer based out of Toronto, Canada with a specialty in advising and assisting technology companies from new venture creation to IPO. Steven received his Masters degree from the Department of Engineering at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology. Steven has received several awards and recognitions for his work and regularly speaks in the area of law, media, and technology.
Gaby Darbyshire, Advisor
Though born in Lebanon, Gaby Darbyshire is a true Brit who moved stateside in the late nineties after early career stints as a Barrister and Management Consultant in London. She is a Repeat Entrepreneur, having variously founded a global wine company, a charity for death row inmates in the Commonwealth, and most recently, Gawker Media, where she was the COO until 2013. She currently runs an incubator, advises startups and is an angel investor.
Brendan Fallis, Advisor
Brendan is a Repeat Entrepreneur. Currently a partner in Waiola Coconut Water, as well as a fashion tech software platform called NMRKT, and most recently partnered in a talent management firm called Preveyor. Leading up to his recent ventures, he worked with fashion brand incubator Launch Collective and is also an internationally renowned tastemaker.
Joe Cianflone, Advisor
A native of Montreal, Joe graduated from Harvard University in 2007, where he completed a joint-degree in Economics and Mathematics, cum laude with high honors. In 2008, he completed his MSc in Financial Economics at Oxford University’s Saïd School of Business, where he was named to the Dean’s List and elected class representative. Subsequently, Joe worked as a contrarian investment manager based in Bermuda for 4 years before returning to Montreal, where he works in the value opportunity strategy at one of Canada’s largest asset managers. He is also an active director of the Harvard Club of Quebec and Tomorrow’s Voices, an autism early intervention charity that provides services to children and families with limited access.