Symbi has launched!

We are proud to announce the official launch of the Symbi service, at http://www.symbi.nyc. Symbi matches Room-Seekers with Room-Holders (people trying to fill an empty room in their apartment). We pair roommates together based on compatibility, leading to happier homes and happier people. The launch is a big first step toward that vision!

There are three main problems we are trying to solve with Symbi.

1) Informed decision-making

InfoScreenshot

One of the biggest pain points we hear from roommate hunters today is incomplete information. Apartment posts on Craigslist are sorely lacking – even if a room’s description is adequately filled out, sufficient information on the roommates themselves is hard to come by. Roommate hunters are forced make decisions with little to go off of. Is it any wonder this leads to poor matches and tense living situations down the line?

One reason behind this lack of information is privacy -Craigslist can be a big, scary place. Another is simply not knowing the right questions to ask, and the New York City housing market is full of unique quirks.

Symbi solves these problems in a few ways. Through thorough research we have identified the most important factors that lead to good roommate matches. We ask users to populate a profile answering these questions. This ensures users are making informed decisions about their future homes. We also verify all our users so that people can feel more comfortable sharing pertinent information about their lives.

2) Efficient Communication

One of the reasons people find roommate hunting so darn painful is because of the sheer inefficiency of the current process. Room-holders have to sift through hundreds of responses (yes, you read that right, hundreds!), while Room-seekers can do little but cross their fingers that their carefully crafted emails don’t get lost in a sea of noise.

RoomRatingScreenshotUserRatingScreenshot

Symbi can do much better. We allow users to quickly go through compatible users and rooms and rate how much they would like to live with them. Mutual interest between potential roommates unlocks messaging. This process allows users to quickly and informedly prune down the list of candidates to only those with whom it could actually work out. (Plus we’ve been told it’s pretty fun.) They can then focus their time and efforts on these compatible matches, and take it from there.

3) The Whole Picture

A happy home is where three things line up: you, your roommate, and your apartment.

matchesRoomseekerScreenshotCraigslist centers around the apartment alone: “Yeah, I guess I’d live there.” Reaching out to those in your network focuses on the personality fit: “Sure, I’d live with her.” Symbi synthesizes the two, bringing together roommates who can feel at home together.

So check us out at http://www.symbi.nyc, and tell all your apartment-dwelling friends in NYC. Here’s to happier homes and happier people in 2015!

Best,

Simone & Peter

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Presenting www.symbi.nyc

Greetings, Symbi readers!

We are happy to report that we have made some big strides this last week – notably:

1) Moving from Seattle to NYC, in order to get closer to our users and immerse ourselves in the NYC rooming environment (We have a new roommate ourselves!)

2) Working on the launch of our website

And here it is – check it out at http://www.symbi.nyc.

Symbi logo as hexes

Sure, our website may not look like much at the moment, but don’t worry – that’s by design! This website represents our MVP, or Minimal Viable Product. This means it passes the minimum bar for our goal, and no more. Staying focused on MVPs means that we can be agile and build no more than is necessary before checking in with our users. This approach is great for businesses of all size, but startups in particular because you have no resources to spare and you are operating in an area of extreme uncertainty. You want to be constantly testing assumptions and learning from your users in order to avoid wasted work that doesn’t solve any real user needs. (For more on this, see http://theleanstartup.com.)

So, what is our goal with this website? The phase we’re entering now is hands-on customer research. We aim to interview 100 NYC residents by the end of the year! A bit ambitious, but that’s the idea. We have developed a discussion guide full of questions to ask our users. These include going through the customer’s roommate history of the last few places they’ve lived and what went well/poorly, as well as getting to know the customer more and what they’re looking for in a roommate. We are also asking about the methods they’re currently using to find roommates and where these break down, in order to focus Symbi on solving the most valuable pieces of the problem.

Here’s where you come in, dear Readers! If you or anyone you know currently lives in Manhattan or Brooklyn or has very recently, we would love to talk to you/ your friend. Please sign up at http://www.symbi.nyc, leave us a note in the comments, or message us at SymbiNY@gmail.com. We are looking for all the help we can get to rustle up 100 customers to talk with, so we’d really appreciate it!

We look forward to learning from you. Follow our blog below to stay connected.

Best,

Simone & Pete

p.s. The biggest difference between Seattle and Brooklyn? The lack of coffee shops with decent wi-fi! This makes us miss our old haunt of Roy St. Coffee quite a bit. Let us know if you have any good recommendations for the Carroll Gardens area!