News & Analysis

Now we know for sure that Roomz.com was acquired by REA Group

- August 27, 2014 2 MIN READ

Daniel Oertli and Jason Furnell launched their startup Roomz in early 2013. They were one of the 23 finalists last year at the Tech23 conference.

In February 2013 Roomz raised $2 million in seed funding; and at the time described the company in the following words:

We are the AirBNB for shared accommodation.

We help like-minded people find each other, easily formalise their shared living arrangement, and live better together.

Both the founders have backgrounds in the Real Estate market, so the seed funding was put to good use, and they designed a bespoke platform from scratch. Not only was the service able to connect future flatmates with each other, but it also had a peer to peer rent processing feature within it that automatically collected and recorded the weekly rental payments, receipted the parties and kept track of everything digitally.

According to Furnell’s Linkedin profile, since launching the company the Roomz member-base grew on average 12 percent month on month. They had 112,000 unique visitors turn into 13,000 members, who in turn created 7,000 listings and sent each other 44,000 likes and messages.

When Startup Daily reached out for comment, Furnell apologised and said ‘No Comment’ to my request. His LinkedIn however does state that:

In mid 2014 the platform was sold to a major real estate player for an undisclosed sum.

Yesterday afternoon, Roomz sent out a communication to all their users, of which I happen to be since late 2013. The email is below. As you will see the platform will be fully transitioned into the realestate.com.au website from September 25th of this year. The new home for Roomz.com will be realestate.com.au/share.

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 6.25.27 pm

Given Oertli is the ex CIO of REA Group, it is not completely left of centre that REA would be across what he and co-founder Furnell were up to. In fact, Furnell himself consulted with realestate.com.au for nearly two years in his role as a Principal Consultant (Experience Design) at Thoughtworks from 2010 to 2012.

Both parties have been pretty quiet about the acquisition, not that Roomz have really ever sought a large amount of media in any instance.

image: The Australian