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Two Sigma Ventures to Grand Central Tech
Updated 9 hours ago
Last time we discussed the very early days. From mid-2008 to 2010, RentHop used co-founder Lawrence Zhou's apartment to write code on nights and weekends, while the founders held day jobs at Traxis Partners, D. E. Shaw & Co., and Two Sigma Investments. The doormen must have assumed we were…
RentHop BitCoin Appreciation Exceeds Boston and Chicago Profits
Updated 9 hours ago
In December 2013, RentHop.com began accepting BitCoin as a form of payment for landlords and real estate brokers to advertise apartment listings. The company initial l y offered a 60% discount off the prevailing USD to BTC exchange rate to encourage adoption of the new technology, and RentHop…
RentHop Office Spaces: The Early Years
Updated 2 days ago
Our original office was Lawrence's apartment on West 43rd Street and 9th Avenue. This was back in summer 2008 - Lehman Brothers was still around, I was still a quant at D. E. Shaw & Co. by day, and the only 99-cent pizza contenders were "Two Bros" and "99 Cent Fresh". Michael Grynbaum from…
Rental Listings - Feeds, Syndication, Aggregation
Updated 2 days ago
Lawrence made a bold prediction 10 years ago, back in the Wild West days of online apartment marketplaces and listing portals. He said in the future, all that would be left are syndication websites and aggregation websites (alongside brokerage firms). Attempting to play in more than one role…
Bad Brokers: Charge Fine or Ban Account?
Updated 5 days ago
Today we had a discussion as a team about how to deal with brokers behaving badly. After posting a fake or misleading listing, we have many algorithms and support staff in place to catch or flag the bad advertisement. Unfortunately, it becomes a cat and mouse game as rotten agents find new ways…
Craig Releases New App!
Updated 6 days ago
Speak of the devil, we just mentioned the former massive network effects from old sites, in particular the NYC loved and hated Craigslist. Researches and professors at the Harvard Business School have studied the phenomenon at length - or at least they wrote a case study about Lawrence Zhou and…
MMT: Modern Monetary Theory, or Magical Mortgage Tease?
Updated 6 days ago
For almost 10 years now, experts everywhere have called for rising mortgage rates. Shortly after the financial crisis, everyone everywhere felt bad about buying anything. But as we bounced from the March 2009 lows, slowly the financial gears began ticking again and risk appetite came back. In…
Craigslist, Freshness, Bait and Switch Problems
Updated 1 week ago
When Lawrence and I gave our original Demo Day pitch in the Summer 2009 Y Combinator batch, we cited Craigslist as a large part of the NYC apartment finder problem. Back then, you could not sort by price, location, or photo gallery. The only thing you could do was "grep for text" that suited you…
Discount Brokers: Avoiding Adverse Selection Problems
Updated 1 week ago
Yesterday we discussed one of the original discount real estate brokerage businesses from the Dot Com 1.0 Bubble. To be fair, the founders probably came out well - a success story from a Y Combinator definition, because the founders "got rich" (relative to their cohort). But none of the…
ZipRealty: Early Pioneer turned Zombie Company?
Updated 1 week ago
Does anyone remember ZipRealty? Back in the Dotcom 1.0 era, they were among the first widespread discount real estate brokerage companies with a reasonably strong presence in the west coast. I have fond memories of using their saved search features to track listings prices through the 2004-2010…
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