Nobee, a new prop-tech startup, announced today it has raised $1.3M in pre-seed funding. Funding was led by investors, Vulcan Inc, founded by Paul Allen, and Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO of Squarefoot.
Nobee was founded in 2018 by Duong (Danny) Nguyen (Chief Executive Officer), Yan Schneyderman (Chief Technical Officer), and Mukund Venkatakrishnan (Chief Growth Officer).
The three co-founders all went to Boston schools (Brandeis, Northeastern, and Harvard respectively) and struggled to find affordable apartments. After finding out they weren’t alone, they founded Nobee.
“We founded Nobee in 2018 and tried many business models from a co-living model to roommate matching before we reached a model that was truly transformational. Our generation is going to rent more and for longer than any other before but the rental experience sucks. We’re changing that.” explained Nguyen.
Nobee is able to reduce broker fees for rentals by 70-80%. They do this through vertically integrating the rental process, from listing properties and generating leads to conducting showings and processing transactions.
Nobee also replaces the commission-based compensation model for real estate agents in the rental space. They use an Uber-style network of agents and pay them a flat fee per showing.
What makes Nobee especially interesting is that they are listing-agnostic. That is, their model does not depend on the units they list but rather works with any unit such that renting the same unit with Nobee is almost always less than renting it with a traditional brokerage.
Nobee is able to charge less than any competitor in the market while making higher margins by assuming the upfront cost of showings and optimizing the number of showings needed to rent a property.
The prop-tech startup space is becoming increasingly crowded with marketplaces and middleman services but Mukund Venkatakrishnan was careful to differentiate Nobee:
“The rental space is fragmented both vertically and horizontally and the current brokerage system is extremely inefficient, fixing it requires making an entirely new system, not just another product for the existing system. What we’re making a Nobee is revolutionary and scalable, it’s going to change rentals forever,” said Venkatakrishnan.
Long-term, Nobee plans to expand into rental payments, property management, and international markets thereby servicing the entire rental experience for both landlords and tenants.
Nobee has saved renters hundreds of thousands of dollars to date while renting out units for landlords faster than traditional brokerages. Their next move is to expand to New York City and Seattle by the end of the year.