Posting an ad for a roommate on Craigslist and trying to weed out the crazies isn’t your only option for finding someone to share housing. A San Francisco-based startup called room.me launched today with the goal of improving roommate pairings by using a matching algorithm. The company’s three founders liked that online dating sites were using such algorithms and have integrated the idea into their platform.
When users sign up for room.me, they answer questions about their desired living situation, habits, and more, and indicate which are the most important factors to them. They can also comment on their own answers and see how others responded. The company plugs the information into its matching algorithm and connects them to the most compatible users. The different questions are asked in various ways to make sure potential roommate pairs really are a good fit, co-founder Max Kersting told TechCrunch.
Launching in San Francisco makes sense, given how expensive housing has become in the city. In February 2015, the the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco was $3,460 — the highest in the country and ever reported, according to Zumper National Rent Report. Though still expensive, the per-person rent for two roommates sharing a two-bedroom is substantially cheaper at $2,325 (assuming the $4,650 a month average is split evenly). It’s no wonder that the percentage of Bay Area residents rooming with someone who’s not a spouse or significant other is higher than the national average. Thirty-two percent of working age adults, ages 23-66, live with a roommate, while 39 percent of those in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area do, Zillow reports.
Kersting describes the roommate situation in San Francisco as “crazy,” and therefore the ideal place to launch their startup. They hope to expand into other cities in the future, so those of us who live outside of San Francisco may be able to try out their algorithm soon. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even fall in love with your super-compatible roommate.