Real estate is an industry that has resisted the adoption of technology. As a result, stakeholders work in outdated, inefficient ways, making it a multi-trillion dollar opportunity for disruption. The founders of Cozy, frustrated with their own bad experiences and inefficiencies in the residential property rental market, built a platform to streamline the process.
Cozy’s mission is to simplify and expedite the connection between renters, property managers, and landlords. The service provides elegant, simple tools for managing a residential rentals business, including marketing, rental applications, tenant screening, and online rent payments. Their property management software targets the 8-10 million independent landlords that own 32 million rental units—74% of the total rental market.
In addition to the seamless landlord-tenant relationship, Cozy has features targeted specifically for landlords:
- Marketing listings: Provides landlords with a splash page for their listing where potential renters can view details and submit applications.
- Online applications: Each renter has a “Cozy Profile” with employment history, salary, references, and more—makes it easy to find ideal candidates
- Tenant screening: After the application, tenants purchase credit reports through Experian and background checks through Checkr—landlords view tenant results without handling personal information.
Combined with the existing ability to collect and pay rent online, Cozy’s toolset handles the entire rental lifecycle, keeping the renter and the landlord engaged with the service every month.
In 2014, Cozy acquired Landlordology to fuel their content marketing engine. Independent landlords are a notoriously hard audience to reach, but Landlordology has a variety of helpful guides, practical advice, and handy resources for do-it-yourself landlords and property managers.
Cozy raised a round of seed funding from investors Social+Capital, Google Ventures, Tim Ferriss, and Jason Calacanis. General Catalyst joined the impressive investor syndicate when they raised their $5M Series A.
Galvanize Ventures invested in the most recent $3.4M round that included existing investors as well as Seven Peak Ventures. Cozy is the first Oregon based company in the portfolio, and since joining, their growth has been fueled by increased awareness through the nationwide Galvanize network. As a free service for landlords and property managers, Cozy makes money through purchase of background checks, credit reports, and rental payments. Their software as a service (SaaS) model is the most common in the Galvanize Portfolio.
To date, over 40,000 landlords and 100,000 tenants have used Cozy and it was recently named Portland’s Company of the Year by Portland Business Journal, and the fastest growing company in Portland by Mattermark.
The Cozy management team brings experience from notable digital and retail giants:
Gino Zahnd is Cozy’s CEO, and founded the company in March 2012. Before Cozy, he led Design at Kosmix (acquired by Walmart), Flickr, and Splunk, where he was the third employee.
Omid Astari is Cozy’s VP of Strategy & Operations. Before joining Cozy, Omid was the first person Twitter hired in Los Angeles, and he spearheaded the establishment of talent relationships within their media, entertainment, sports, and music verticals.
Rob Galanakis is Cozy’s VP of Engineering. Rob came to Cozy from CCP Games (makers of EVE Online) in Reykjavík, Iceland, where he worked in several technical leadership roles.
Katie Harlow is Cozy’s Customer Support Manager. She heads the team that makes sure Cozy customers remain Cozy customers. Katie joined Cozy from SurveyMonkey.
David Handlong is Cozy’s Director of User Experience. He joined Cozy after spending a decade in the Design Consulting world.
Cozy isn’t slowing down. In the last couple of months, they launched the ability to pay rent via debit or credit card, an added revenue stream and improved user experience for tenants.
In mid December 2015, they announced a full integration with Realtor.com and Doorsteps.com for listings, rental applications, and tenant screening. Cozy will be the exclusive way to post rental listings to Realtor.com and Doorsteps outside of the MLS.
This represents the exciting opportunity for Cozy in 2016 – providing free software for Realtors and their clients. They started with a focus on independent landlords, grew to support property managers, and now works with Realtors, ensuring Cozy has a touch point in every piece of the residential real estate process. The complete vertical integration combined with recurring monthly touch points is a powerful combination that makes Cozy stand out against its competitors. The long term vision is to become the trusted rental platform where tenants have a complete rental history.
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