Even product managers have to find apartments; and that means that they’ll know, like everyone else who’s been in the same predicament, what a nightmare it can be. Checking Craigslist just doesn’t cut it anymore – it seems stuck in an internet time bubble dating from the 1990s. But thanks to the RadPad app, the brainchild of entrepreneur Jonathan Eppers (erstwhile product manager for MySpace and eHarmony), the process just got a whole lot easier.
From pain to pleasure
Described in the Huffington Post as a “hybrid of Craigslist and Instagram”, RadPad was borne of Eppers’ struggle to find a decent pad in Los Angeles last year. Unsurprisingly, he almost certainly found himself thinking what everyone else does: there just has to be a simpler way to do this. Unlike everyone else, though, Eppers built a solution. Maybe that’s what innovative product managers do when confronted with a pain that urgently needs sorting.
Unlike other sites advertising rentals, RadPad doesn’t simply feature the odd photo: it puts them front-and-center whenever apartment-hunters view listings. And it insists that each landlord sends three photos of the property.
The user experience is a breeze: just go through a few drop-down menus and sift through the listings. Because it’s a location-based iPhone app, it lets users see a map of available apartments in the neighborhood they’re driving through just by opening it. Landlords can just upload their photos from their smartphones.
The app has been going down a storm in LA, with 24,000 downloads and roughly 2,500 renters using it every day. Having raised $200,000 in funding, Eppers is getting ready to launch RadPad in Austin, Texas, taking the number of markets it’s used in to four (the others are San Diego, San Francisco and, of course, Los Angeles).
The move is a canny one. There’s a big student population in Austin (college kids are big users of the app) and one of RadPad’s investors, real estate firm Post Investment Group, owns thousands of units there.
The service is currently free but Eppers is working on plans to monetize it, probably by charging for premium services for renters, like sending push-notifications to RadPad users when they’re near a landlord’s apartment.
A web version of the app has just been launched. This little solution has got wings. Big ones.