By Ashrit Kamireddi WG’14, Team Leader for VeryApt
Team Members: Scott Bierbryer WG’14, Andrew Mackowski, Ross Bierbryer
VeryApt is TripAdvisor meets Pandora for apartments. VeryApt helps users find an apartment they will love, quickly and easily by combining user-generated reviews with big data analytics to deliver intelligent, personalized apartment recommendations.
What’s new and exciting about your business?
We are combining personalized recommendations with high-quality, verified user reviews to help people find the perfect apartment. We are really encouraged by the positive feedback we’ve received from both the University of Pennsylvania and local Philadelphia employers that we’ve been piloting VeryApt with. The Wharton Business Plan Competition has been an incredible opportunity to continue to hone our long-term strategy and develop an apartment search product that is better than anything else available.
How did you come up with this idea?
VeryApt was born from Scott’s and my own frustrations while trying to find an apartment in Philadelphia. It was surprising how much misinformation there was out there about renting in Philadelphia, particularly given the abundance of high quality buildings and great places to live. Before Wharton, I had worked at TripAdvisor, and felt that the TripAdvisor model for user-generated reviews could be incredibly successful if applied to apartments. I met Scott, my Wharton co-founder, through the business plan competition last year. He had covered TripAdvisor as a hedge fund analyst at Glenview Capital, and immediately was convinced that user reviews and personalized search in apartments solved a very real consumer pain point.
What does it mean to you one of the “Great Eight” finalists in the Wharton Business Plan Competition?
It’s been a bit of a surreal experience. We still remember being both disappointed and motivated last year when we found out we didn’t make it into the semi-finals with the very same concept. We feel incredibly fortunate to have had the last year to refine our business, and we are very appreciative of the resources Wharton has provided us with to get to this stage. We know how much time and effort it takes along every step of the business plan competition, and we feel privileged to be sharing this opportunity with such a talented group of our classmates.
If you win the Perlman Grand Prize ($30,000 prize, $10,000 in legal services, $5,000 in accounting/strategy services), what will you do with these resources?
We’d put The Perlman Grand Prize towards the next steps of our business plan we’ve presented: developing more great products on the consumer end, namely on the mobile side, and growing our business outside of Philadelphia into markets where we can quickly add value for both renters and property managers.
Ashrit: Although I’ve spent the last ten years in the North East, I spent my early childhood in Africa, and the majority of my life in Alabama.
Scott: Scott collects guitars, which has added some much needed flair to our shared work space.