By JULIA JOHN-SCHEDER
Mayor Michal Bloomberg on Tuesday announced the launch of a tech start-up company that helps tech students find a place to live in New York as the city tries to rival Silicon Valley.
The firm, Urban Compass launched a beta website for online search of apartments in the right neighborhood for tech student graduates.
“We welcome our newest tech start-up to this new home in New York,” said Bloomberg, referring to the office at 155 Sixth Ave in SoHo. “Did you use Urban Compass to find it?” the mayor asked, receiving laughs from the audience. “Because if you did it really does work.”
The mayor lauded the city for having more tech-related jobs than many other American cities, such as San Francisco and Boston, citing a 30 percent growth since 2005. Bloomberg implied that the New York City model of luring tech companies to settle in the Big Apple would be copied by other cities as well.
The city’s Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot referred to the city as having “the most progressive open data legislation in the country” and cites the $800 billion of acquisitions in the tech sector in 2012. Urban Compass is one of the tech companies making use of open data by incorporating it in their business model of online home search.
Urban Compass aims to lure recent tech college graduates to move or stay here by serving as a college ambassador to schools across the country, roshe run suede femmes including Columbia University, Cornell Tech and NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. Students can use Urban Compass to help them navigate the job market and sort out prospective living areas that go along with the perfect job after college. As soon as a job is found in New York City, the start-up’s ‘Neighborhood Specialists’ get to work finding the “right apartment in the right neighborhood,” said founder and CEO of Urban Compass, Robert Reffken. This fee-based service can be done entirely online including the search, scheduling, application for an apartment as well as payment of a newly found pad.
Reffken said their brokers would be paid based on their customer satisfaction rates instead of the traditional commission an agent gets from a sale of an apartment.
“We are the only company that updates their listings multiple times a day. We have people go to the apartments to make sure it’s a real listing,” said Ori Allon, Executive Chairman and founder of the firm. Allon sold his patent for an algorithm improving Google’s search engine and previously worked as the Director of Engineering at Twitter’s NYC outpost.