Anyone who’s ever tried to find a roommate in a new city knows it’s a nightmare. Do you search Craigslist? Do you plead with friends and family for help? IVY Member Josie Hubschman, says no—there’s a better way.
Following the model of the incredible online dating boom, Josie and her co-founder Lia launched The Room Ring, a new website that helps match people with potential roommates based on mutual friends on Facebook. The site bridges the gap between Craigslist and calling up friends. Josie sat down with IVY Magazine to talk about why her site is going to be a leader in the next big wave of online matching.
Josie is an IVY Member (NYC). Connect and collaborate with her here.
Josie Hubschman (L) and her Co-Founder, Lia Wayman (R)
IVY: You quit a good job to tackle a problem everyone dreads—apartment hunting.
It was really scary. Sometimes I think back and can’t believe I actually did it. I was super happy at SoulCycle, and it was a great environment. I felt like I was at a point in my life where I wanted to take a risk, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t.
IVY: Why did you decide to start The Room Ring?
A lot of people we knew were having problems with housing and apartments. My co-founder, Lia, was moving back to Boston and couldn’t find someone to fill her room in New York City and also couldn’t find anyone to live with in Boston. There were so many things she was juggling, and it was so chaotic and stressful. We had other friends too who were moving to San Francisco and other places in the U.S., who didn’t know anyone in the cities they were moving to. They were having to resort to Craigslist or Facebook to try to find a roommate. We said to ourselves—there has to be a better way to go about this process. The online dating industry was (and is) really blowing up, so we took that idea and sort of ran with it.
IVY: Walk me through what happens if I sign up for The Room Ring.
On The Room Ring website, you can do lots of different things: you can sign up to post a room that you need to fill or if you’re looking for a roommate to fill an existing room or even if you’re looking for a new roommate in a new city. You sign-up through Facebook, fill out a profile, and match with people who might be a good match. What makes The Room Ring unique is that you can see mutual friends and message them. It takes out all the sketchiness of Craigslist, and you don’t have to harass friends and family to help you find a roommate. We feel it makes that really stressful, uncomfortable process a little easier. The online site launched last week, and we’re hoping to develop an app to come out by the end of the year.
IVY: What do you think sets The Room Ring apart from other online “matching” systems?
The Room Ring has different goals. With online dating, matches are based on luck and credentials and where you went to school. With The Room Ring, it’s more about the mutual friends aspect and the familiarity that comes with that. If you match with someone, you’re able to see their mutual friends, and then it’s more of a mutual connection you make. You’re not going to be dating the person, so you’re looking for different qualities, more familiarity and trust.
I feel like the people who are using our site know they’re desperate, and it has nothing to do with the negative aspects of the online dating industry. We’re using their tactics to make our service more useful for millennials.
IVY: Was there an online dating system you used specifically to model The Room Ring?
Hinge was definitely the one that we liked the most. I think you still might find people on there that are weird, but at the end of the day, you’re able to see the mutual friends and find a great match. You can always ask their mutual friends before you do anything.
It’s a billion dollar industry. It’s funny because I feel like a year ago, there were no roommate matching apps. And now, over the past year, there have been a ton come to the surface. I don’t know if it’s because we’re now always looking for competitors, but a year ago, I’d never heard of anyone doing roommate matching with an app. There’s always a wave of different industries: the Ubers, the Hinges and more. There hasn’t been a big wave of roommate-matching apps, and I think it’s coming. I hope we’re a part of that.
IVY: If you had to be matched with one major historical or literary figure, who would it be?
I think it’d be incredible to be matched with an author like J.K. Rowling. It would be so amazing to live with her and have her read to me at night. I also think Malcolm Gladwell would be a fun match. I think I would really like living with an author because they’re so interesting and full of knowledge. I would have so much to learn from them. A political figure would cool too, but it would probably be very intense.
IVY: How can the IVY community support you and The Room Ring?
Tell everyone you know know about The Room Ring! We’re on social media, so be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If anyone has press contacts, our main focus this month is to drive traffic and build a strong user base. Anything that involves marketing and PR is our main focus.
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