Rent College Pads Raises $1M for Tools to Help Students Find Housing

Milwaukee-based Rent College Pads announced it has raised $1 million from investors to fuel the growth of its technology, which according to the startup’s website is active at 46 colleges and universities across 20 states.

Rent College Pads, which focuses on helping users find off-campus housing, says that more than 2 million students have found a place to live using its technology since its launch in 2012. The company is seeking to expand its footprint to at least 100 campuses by 2017, according to a press release.

“Our goal is to simplify the college housing search for students at every college across the country,” Dominic Anzalone, founder and CEO of Rent College Pads, says in a prepared statement.

The seed round was led by the Wisconsin Super Angel Fund, which Rent College Pads says also led a $500,000 pre-seed investment in the startup last year.

“This team has not only done a great job innovating within a niche, but they have done it in a capital-efficient way,” says Jackie Darr, a general partner at the fund, in a prepared statement.

According to a regulatory filing that was made public earlier this week, 13 investors participated in Rent College Pads’ latest financing round.

In addition to its website, the startup has created mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The apartment-hunting industry is competitive, both nationally and in Wisconsin.

In 2014, my colleague Jeff Engel did a deep dive on the three startups based in the Badger State that help renters find somewhere to live: Rent College Pads and Find My Spot, both based in Milwaukee, and Madison, WI-based Abodo. His article also examined and some of the national apartment websites these companies are attempting to capture market share from, including Craigslist and Apartments.com.

While Abodo doesn’t market exclusively to college students, several of the cities it has expanded into in the last two years are home to large research universities. Last month, Abodo announced it had raised $4.8 million from investors.

Find My Spot, meanwhile, aims to help professionals who have recently relocated find housing, in part by working with their employers’ human resources departments.

Rent College Pads has developed a feature called “Roommates” that only displays partially filled units whose occupants are looking for one or more individuals to move into empty rooms. Craigslist also has this functionality—it’s labeled as “rooms / shared” on a city’s homepage.

Sam Radbil, senior communications manager at Abodo, says that its technology does allow renters seeking roommates to list their apartments, but only on “university powered pages.” That refers to arrangements between Abodo and campus housing offices in which the startup’s technology underpins pages on schools’ websites that connect sublessors and property managers with students looking for housing. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one institution whose housing office uses Abodo’s technology for some of its operations. Abodo is working to add a feature to its city-specific pages that will resemble “rooms / shared” on Craigslist, Radbil says.

Rent College Pads $1M raise

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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