By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
You have a new job lined up in a city you are unfamiliar with. You have a start date and you are ready to move, but to what building and with who?
So, you ask around to other friends if they know someone in the area. Or, you turn to social media to look for anyone you may have a connection to in the area.
Now, there is a website to help simplify the process of finding your definition of an ideal roommate.
Roomaters is a free platform that asks you what you want in a roommate and allows you to describe how you are as a roommate. Are you a neat freak or are you messy? Do you like to stay up late or go to bed early?
Founder and CEO Aaron Caplan said the goal is to understand your potential future roommate and get a picture of what it would be like to live with that person.
“It’s an advanced icebreaking program,” he said about Roomaters.
He first came up with the idea in 2013. He was living in New York City with some of his college friends and the lease was coming up. He was having issues with a roommate, petty stuff, but it was crunch time to decide whether to stay or move.
He said he remembered thinking, what if there was a way to go online and find a roommate that worked for me. He ended up moving to Tampa Bay to pursue another project before the roommate idea came back up in 2017.
A friend approached him and said he was tired of his job and they should go into business together. Caplan pitched him his roommate matching idea and they got to work.
Roommaters.com launched in March and is currently covering the South Florida market. Its target audience is young professionals.
Some are graduating and about to start a new job, but need a roommate to afford the building they want to be in. Some have a place already and are looking for a new roommate.
The site is open to both people who have a place secured and just need a roommate or for people looking for both a roommate and a place to live.
The idea began as a roommate search engine that connects people through their mutual friends. Then, Caplan said they took it a few steps further to create a comprehensive search platform.
The system prescribes you with a personality type after you complete a survey. It will then tell you what personality types would be an ideal match for you to live with.
Roomaters also asks you about your habits, hobbies, interests and lifestyle as well as what you want in a roommate. Are you looking for a friend to hit the town with after work or just someone who pays rent on time?
After you answer all the questions, the responses are run through an algorithm. The results will then match you with potential roommates based on the amount of connections you and the person have in common.
You can then decide whether you want to reach out to that person.
The idea is to avoid having a bad roommate before you move in together. Caplan said the goal is to create roommate matches that allow you to be comfortable in your home.
While the site is limited to making roomie suggestions in South Florida, it asks users what other cities they are interested in possibly moving to. Caplan said if there is enough demand in one city, they will begin expanding based on feedback from the users.
To help the business thrive and expand, Roomaters is a member of Delray’s 1909 business accelerator program.
He said the program is providing the mentorship he needs as a first time founder of a business.
While his business is officially up and running, he said some companies in the program are still just ideas on paper. Others have been around a few years already.
He said it has been helpful to have a space to ask questions from people who have been through the challenges of starting a new concept.
He hopes by the end of the program he will be ready to pitch Roomaters to possible investors.