|I started University Niche with two friends to help college students find places to live off-campus around their universities.|
If you've been through the college system in the US, chances are you know how difficult it is to find a house to rent. Many landlords will simply hang up the phone the second you tell them that you're a college student. University Niche is a database of rental properties that are open to renting to college students, with information curated specifically toward helping students find the best places to live.
We launched April 2014, and are now at three universities. We've seen a lot of success (~40% w/w growth, 100%+ m/m growth).
For many students, this is their first time living on their own, so we wanted to sell ad space to small businesses that would help students with their move (storage, furniture, etc.) and then to small businesses that would help them once they're situated (grocery stores, gyms, etc.). I coded up a basic self-serve advertising platform, and my cofounders and I went and found a local moving company. Walked in the office, talked with the owner for about 15 minutes. Sale.
Went to a mattress store. Sale.
Small restaurant, same thing.
We've walked in to six random businesses, and only one said no.
So we're pretty excited it works, but we have bigger plans than this. We have projections and budgets to expand to 150 schools nationwide.
We know how we're gonna do it and we know how much it will cost, but we are all at a loss for how to take that next step.
We have a validated product and now a validated revenue model. We've got traction. But we don't have the funds to take this thing to the next level, and we don't know how to meet the people who can help.
Anyone have any advice or been in a similar situation?