Last January, Jonathan Eppers was planning on moving to a new apartment and he was so frustrated with slogging through Craigslist ads and the thought of wasting money on disappointing rental listing services that he almost gave up on his hunt for a new home. Instead he decided to change the rental process. In July of 2012 Eppers began building RadPad, a mobile app that offers a simple and efficient way to find and rent a property. “If people have an easy way to focus on places that they’re excited about, they can be more excited about the moving process,” Eppers said.
RadPad, which launched in October 2013, is a photo-heavy app, similar to Instagram that automatically shows listings closest to the users location. “People have the information they need wherever they are, so they don’t have to call landlords or waste time looking at places that have already been rented,” Eppers explained.
He launched RadPad in less than a year in part because of his experience in product development. Eppers first relocated from the Midwest to Southern California to work for Myspace about 5 years ago—when Myspace was still in its heyday. The move would change his career. “It was the first time that I got to work on a consumer product where there were hundreds of millions of users,” Eppers recalled. “ I was building things that 20 million people would have access to immediately, and it became addictive.” He later left Myspace to start his own company centered around high school sports news. But then in 2011, eHarmony offered Eppers the opportunity to redesign their entire desktop product and according to Eppers it was a challenge he couldn’t turn down. With his experience working with eHarmony, he was prime to step out on his own again in 2012 to launch RadPad.
“I called up two incredible engineers that I knew and explained my idea,” Eppers said, and the two immediately agreed to come onboard. “The reason that they wanted to work with me is that they actually just had an awful moving experience too,” Eppers added.
With his team of engineers secured, Eppers quit his day job at eHarmony and worked out of his living room until they he got his app off the ground in October. The RadPad team then quietly posted the app by announcing it to their friends on Facebook. By the beginning of January the app had 10,000 downloads. “It spread so fast that we thought, we have something special here,” Eppers said.
The mobile company caught the attention of the Los Angeles-based business accelerator Amplify, which offers its companies seed funding of up to $150,000, as well as a free workplace and mentoring. RadPad joined Amplify, and with the accelerator’s support the RadPad team is now hard at work continuing to improve the rental process for both property owners and renters.“We’re really interested in the renters entire cycle and creating a product that you can continue to use,” Eppers said, adding that in the future it’s possible that users could use RadPad to pay rent.
According to Eppers one of the companies greatest challenges as they move forward and continue to expand, the app’s scope includes Los Angeles, Austin, and San Francisco, is to take feedback from renters, landlords, investors, friends and family and to narrow down what to focus on. When Eppers gets overwhelmed he goes back to one of his personal mantras, which is: if you want to stand for something, you have to go after it. Keep on the look out as RadPad continues to add tools and grow its presence, according to Eppers the company is just getting started. “The rental market is a 300 billion dollar market place, and there’s a huge opportunity to make it more efficient.”