Sometimes the key to success doesn’t come with traditional accomplishments like say, getting a high school diploma. Rather for some, it comes with a great idea, the right connections and the drive to succeed. Such is the case with Jason Marmon, freshly minted 18 year old and co-founder of HomeSwipe, referred to as the ‘Tinder for apartment rentals.’ He admits that his parents were hesitant about him dropping out of school at first, but then they started to believe him that his HomeSwipe was a ‘great opportunity’ and worth him ending his high school education for. He admits he may go back to school some day ‘possibly through online alternatives.”*
Marmon's co-founder Michael Lisovetsky took part in the Draper University 2014 program, a 7 week program designed for young, entrepreneurial minded people to meet in Silicon Valley. As a middle schooler, Lisovetsky created a web hosting site called FazeWire that was acquired for an undisclosed amount. “At Draper,” he says “there were a lot of people working on Tinder for X” companies for a long time. I couldn’t understand it.” At a Founders Institute course in 2013 he met Dean Soukeras and the two were both working on separate companies that failed. The two stayed in touch and after the Draper University experience he asked Soukeras what else swipe could be used for. When he responded, “real estate,” that’s how HomeSwipe was born. It was then that Lisovetsky realized the value in the [swipe] interface which allows users to easily interact with large amounts of data.
While both Marmon and Lisovetsky can code quickly, their first version of the app which they finished in two weeks was ‘embarrassing’ as Lisovetsky recalls. “The app looked ugly. It was broken. It was bleh.” Before even the first step of creating the app, Draper agreed to fund them but also challenged them to raise half a million dollars in seed money. They rose to the occasion and secured $500k and then it was on to building a better version of the app that was user friendly and more streamlined. With their seed money they hired two people to get their current version of the app launched in May.
While HomeSwipe has the potential to change the way real estate rentals works for consumers and agents, as of now the app is not generating income. They are planning on charging realtors a small transaction fee every time a user requests more information on a property or if a user requests to chat with a realtor about a property in app. In the 6 months since the app has been launched, it’s had nearly 50,000 downloads and is supported by more than 2,000 New York real estate agents.