Doorkee raises $5.7M in funding to disrupt the apartment rental industry and modernize antiquated rental process for landlords and tenants
Doorkee, a New York City-based tech startup that is disrupting the apartment rental industry, today announced it secured $5.7M in early-stage funding to accelerate the growth of its platform. The round was led by prominent New York City landlord Simon Baron Development and early-stage venture capital firms Corigin Ventures and Alpha Edison, which both have significant experience investing in proptech startups.
Investors in the round also included well-known landlords Stonehenge NYC and Bushburg Properties. Simon Baron, Stonehenge and Bushburg have been instrumental in helping Doorkee scale and refine its differentiated value proposition, which focuses on providing a better moving experience for all involved.
Founded just a year ago, Doorkee is a one rental platform company that helps landlords increase their revenues by decreasing vacancy time between tenants. It serves as a peer-to-peer marketplace reshaping how and when apartment renting happens. Co-founders John Fagan, CEO, and Jordan Franklin, COO, created Doorkee in 2019 to streamline and optimize the rental process by creating a peer-to-peer market that solves for inefficiencies and common problems experienced by landlords, departing tenants and apartment seekers
In short, Doorkee aims to “Reinvent Rent” (its tagline) by cutting out the middleman (broker) and enabling departing and potential rental tenants to coordinate showings directly through a tech platform that can be easily integrated into landlords’ existing systems.
This has proven to be key during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. Most traditional brokerages were scrambling to find a way to do virtual tours when NYC shut down real estate showings, however Doorkee’s platform – which includes video/virtual tour capability – was set up for the change. While COVID-19 forced the world to transact fully online rather suddenly, Doorkee believes the situation is accelerating a shift in demand that has been long in the making.
The round was led by prominent New York City landlord Simon Baron Development and early-stage venture capital firms Corigin Ventures and Alpha Edison, which both have significant experience investing in proptech startups. Investors in the round also included well-known landlords Stonehenge NYC and Bushburg Properties. Simon Baron, Stonehenge and Bushburg have been instrumental in helping Doorkee scale and refine its differentiated value proposition, which focuses on providing a better moving experience for all involved.
“As a renter myself, I grew tired of having to navigate the outdated, frustrating and fragmented search and leasing process. The truth is, you’d be hard pressed to find a renter or landlord who doesn’t have at least one horror story to tell – so I set out to modernize it in a way where everyone can win,” said Fagan. “Technology-driven innovation has rapidly become an indispensable pillar of society, but the real estate industry has been notoriously slow to recognize its benefits. In a sense, we view Doorkee as the iPhone of apartment renting – created with the end user in mind as a practical, intuitive solution that is engineered to provide all the tools you need in one place. It also eliminates the need for expensive brokers on all sides of the transaction.”
In New York City, where Doorkee is currently operating, rental broker fees total approximately $600 million per year. Doorkee’s end-to-end digital platform is engineered to put this money back into the pockets of landlords and renters by providing them with full control over the rental process. The platform is designed to dramatically reduce the amount of time apartments sit vacant between tenancies, helping to reduce the estimated $3.1 billion in unnecessary annual vacancy costs across New York City. These benefits are core reasons why Doorkee has managed to steadily grow its landlord and renter user base since its launch in September 2019. Capital from the fundraise is being used to expand Doorkee’s platform, as well as fuel its expansion into other major markets across the U.S.
“Simply put, removing the middle man has allowed us to create significant cost savings for landlords and renters alike. For example, the total cost to New York landlords of using Doorkee is around 60% lower than the typical combined broker fee and vacancy cost, representing an average savings of around $5,000 per apartment,” said Franklin. “The time for innovating the rental process is long overdue, and this has never been more true than in the situation we find ourselves in today with COVID-19, which is forcing people to transact almost entirely online. This reflects an acceleration of shifting consumer behaviors that have been long in the making. We are confident it will have a meaningful impact on consumer behavior for the long-term, further supporting the significant market opportunity to scale our platform.”
Landlords currently using Doorkee own more than 40,000 rental units throughout New York City. In addition to Simon Baron Development and Bushburg Properties, other notable landlords on the platform include Corigin Real Estate, Plaza Management, First Service Residential, MD Squared and R.A. Cohen & Associates.