Latest on the blog

Friday 18 May 2012

Flat-Club Achieves Important Milestone Closing Series A Funding

About 18 months ago, Flat-Club was first launched in London with only 5 flats. The idea was simple – help alumni & students of top universities find others they trust to arrange short term accommodation. Since then, the word has spread quickly and we have more than 2,000 posted flats and rooms in over 20 cities. We started with a team of 2 and today we are already 15 from 11 countries (the most international startup in London, and maybe in the world?). More importantly, we have hundreds of excellent reviews from hosts and guests about the renting and networking experience. Today, we are happy to announce that we closed our Series A funding with excellent investors who will help us take Flat-Club to the next level and become even better.
This is outstanding news for all of us here in London, New York, Rome, and the Ukraine, where the team is based and also for our community.

In the next few months we plan to do the following:

  1. Expand into more cities and networks - so you can find more great value options and make new contacts
  2. Significantly improve our website and product. There is much work to be done and we can’t wait to start (contact us if you are in London or want to move to London and want to take part in this exciting journey)
  3. Keep delivering outstanding customer service – much better than you would expect from a small online startup - and serve our community’s exact needs

Who are our investors?

  • MLC50
  • Prof. Eli Talmor (London Business School)
  • Prof. Florin Vasvari (London Business School)
All of them have broad experience in building businesses that started out small, just like Flat-Club, and have now become world leading companies that serve as case studies in business schools. We have been working together in the last few months, and we can’t wait to share some of the early results with you.

How is Flat-Club different?

  1. Targeted Posting: A host on Flat-Club can choose to post their place only to others they trust from their existing social networks (top university alumni & students, employees of top companies, or friends of friends on Facebook) instead of posting it to everyone.
  2. Exclusive Flats: 70% of the flats and rooms on Flat-Club have never posted online before and belong to private hosts. Hence the value for money is much better compared to professional hosts and vacation rentals. A typical host on Flat-Club would rather have their place empty than rent it to someone they are not sure about.
  3. Community: By focusing on alumni & students of top universities, Flat-Club leverages existing social networks instead of trying to build a new one (there are too many anyway), and hence benefits from the affiliation its users have with their university. For example, recently an alumnus of Imperial College asked to join Flat-Club to find exclusive accommodation in London for his wife & himself. Everything sounds normal except that he is 76 years old and his wife is 72. He graduated almost 50 years ago and still associates himself with his university!
Most importantly, we are different because of you. So thanks again for your ongoing support and feedback.

  • Thanks,
  • Nitzan Yudan
  • Co-founder & CEO

Monday 14 May 2012

A Relocation Guide To New York

As part of our program to help you when relocating to a new city, we are launching today a relocation guide to New York, written by the people who moved and lived there.

Before you go:

  • Make sure you have all required documentation, including visas, work permits, marriage certificates, driving licence and copies of past bank statements
  • Arrange short-term accommodation for your first few weeks to give you plenty of time to look for a place longer term
  • Make sure you know the address, post code and nearest tube stop of where you're staying - it makes it so much easier once you're in the airport
  • Change a reasonable amount of your currency for US dollars
  • Talk to your doctor about any medicine you might need

Useful links:

Finding a place

  • Walk around the city, get to know areas, look online at prices and narrow down your search depending on your budget
  • Use local newspapers, classified ads and estate agents to look round houses - don't feel pressured to sign anything on the spot but bear in mind the housing market moves pretty quickly here so something available in the morning may well be taken by the afternoon
  • Ask people living nearby
  • Beware of scams

Other Links:

Setting up a bank account

  • You will need two forms of identification and a proof of your address
  • Some banks may require your social security number

Health Insurance

  • Don’t underestimate health issues: get your health insurance before leaving.
  • Keep the policy number and the emergency number in your wallet
  • Ask if the insurance company will take care of any expense on your behalf
  • To apply for a Social Security Card in NYC, go to the nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) with a proof of identity (preferably your passport) and your visa

Useful links:

Staying safe

  • Emergency number is 911
  • Shield your PIN at cash machines, avoid empty subway carriages at night and never get in an unlicensed cab (only hail yellow cabs from the street or pre-book your taxi to pick you up)

Travelling Around

  • After taking a cab, always take your receipt
  • Buy a Metrocard if you need to travel frequently by subway or bus
  • Get a map at the subway booth

Useful Links

You can read a further extension of this guide as well as top tips from a local on the best places to eat, drink and shop in NYC.

If you're looking for somewhere to stay in New York, we can help you out! Use our free Expert Search to find the best accommodation in the city, with the best host.