Startup PocketList Leaps out of Stealth with $2.8 Million Seed Round

After a year of stealth trials and 20,000 units on-platform, PocketList goes public and raises seed round from high-profile VCs.

By Mary Ann Azevedo in HousingWire on July 15, 2020

PocketList, a “renter-powered” housing platform, announced Wednesday it has raised $2.8 million in seed funding.

Notably, its backers include a high-profile bunch including Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff and David Sacks of Craft Ventures, who has previously backed the likes of BirdYammer and PayPal. Craft Ventures led the round, which also included participation from Abstract VC and Wonder Ventures.

Los Angeles-based PocketList says its goal is to help renters find homes before they are publicly available. It’s been operating in stealth mode for the past year with its app going live today in Los Angeles, where it says it offers over 20,000 rental units on its platform. The company plans to launch in San Francisco and San Diego later this year, in Seattle in early 2021 and in Chicago and New York “soon after.”

PocketList says that its rental marketplace includes tens of thousands of units with verified feedback from current and past tenants, with the goal of “giving an honest and transparent view of a potential home.” 

Currently, the average unit on PocketList is shared 67 days before the landlord is given notice, and 97 days before the unit appears on other listing sites, according to the company. 

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The eight-person startup aims to bring renters together to share what they know about the rental market—where are the best places, how loud a unit is, and when will that place be available, according to Nick Dazé, co-founder and CEO of PocketList. Renters can view, ask questions about, and get notified about places coming up before they hit the market, he told HousingWire.

PocketList then connects landlords to those renters the day their prior tenant gives them notice.

“Renters have been forced to wait until the last minute forever, but they have more power than they think. They’re the only ones who know when they’ll be moving in the future, so the stressful ‘wait and see’ issue can easily be eliminated for renters and landlords,” Dazé said in a written statement. “We’re tapping into the power of earlier information and transparency for the benefit of everyone. When renters share a ‘heads-up’ on when they’re moving and insights on what it’s like to live in their old place, they’re alleviating a huge uncertainty for their fellow renters.”

Zillow co-founder Rascoff noted that the apartment market is still in dire need of increased transparency.

“PocketList takes transparency to the next level, bringing exclusive ‘pre-market’ inventory into the light, and it’s no surprise that renters have flocked to the service,” he said in a statement.

Cover Photo by Devon Owens on Unsplash