A Google search for “apartment lease” returns 86 million results. Which makes sense. One of the constants in life is finding a place to live, and signing a long-term contract for that living place. That constant — that lease — remains in force even though changes in our lives may not line up neatly with that one- or two-year period. Many things happen to us while we are stuck with a long-term house or apartment lease: new job opportunities, new roommates or relationships, new family members, and so much more.
If you could construct a service for home rentals that would reconcile that conflict between life and lease, what would it look like? Probably like Flip — a marketplace for flexible housing specifically designed for leases that last for any duration, starting at one month.Just take a look at this word cloud below, which pulls from descriptions on Flip listings, where people explain the circumstances that drew them to the platform
Since 2016, 15,000 people have listed spaces (rooms, apartments and houses) on the Flip marketplace. Unlike traditional housing platforms, Flip is completely end-to-end, by qualifying every user, handling all payments, legal documents and landlord approvals. Today, over 50,000 people have used it to search for a new home across New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
We are leading Flip’s latest financing round, as it is the type of market or domain specific network that USV focuses on. In market-specific networks, closing the loop on a transaction is the key to unlocking network effects, and Flip does just that.
As importantly, Susannah Vila and Roger Graham, the founders of Flip, aspire to enable seamless access to all all housing, everywhere, for everyone. Flip accomplishes this via a fully digital platform that does not assume that fixed lease terms are necessary. Instead, it works from the idea that the rental housing market should be truly liquid, and that if housing were transacted on one digital platform, it would be easier and more affordable for everyone to get on a lease or off of a lease.
Flip’s mission is to provide seamless access to all housing for everyone, everywhere. We think that is one measure of increasing individuals’ economic freedom; we are excited to be able to support this company’s development.