Rocket’s Berlin-based online platform for verified rental booking, Nestpick, announced their launch in the UK, France, Spain and Italy today. Its aims is clear: The startup wants to become the global number 1 for how students and young professionals find apartments abroad.
Founded in May 2014, Nestpick is an Airbnb for student apartments and operates in a similar way as UniPlaces from Lisbon. Students, especially those who decide to spend a semester abroad, can find a mid-term accommodation on the platform. While it is free of charge for landlords, tenants pay 50% of the first rent as a service fee. “The average duration is 7.5 months,” states Fabian Dudek, founder of Nestpick. “Given that, our charge is fair. “
To make sure the apartment is not a scam, Nestpick sends its own photographers to the places. In addition to that, the tenant’s deposit will be held by Nestpick until three days after the tenant moves in. According to Nestpick, the past few months showed that on average empty apartments were filled within 2.5 days.
When asked about how the service differs from others, e.g. UniPlaces, Dudek states: “We offer a better service, since our group of experts work constantly on improving our product to ensure customer happiness. We believe that an increase in supply will even out the demand and therefore the market will regulate itself.”
Being backed by Rocket Internet, Nestpick certainly profits from the company builder’s knowledge of the market and general support, Dudek says.
Rocket certainly does know this rental market: In 2011, the incubator launched Wimdu as an Airbnb copycat, focussing on holiday and short-term rental.
To solve the chicken-and-egg problem, Nestpick will focus on the number of accommodations first.
“In the next few years, the number of international students will rise enormously, especially in Europe,” Dudek states. According to a database report by the European Commission Nestpick refers to, the most popular Erasmus countries are Spain, followed by Germany, France, UK and Italy.
Focussing on Europe first, Nestpick has set its goal to become “the new standard of how Generation Y will be renting their apartments”. “That’s the reason why we are aiming for nothing less than global coverage,” Dudek comments towards VentureVillage.
Nestpick’s biggest competitor is probably UniPlaces, a service that launched in 2011 and has raised €5 million in 4 rounds. Focussing on Lisbon and London but expanding as well, it has yet to be seen who will make it as the number 1 for student’s accommodations.