We Created Flip to Put Renters in the Driver’s Seat — Here’s How.

As graduate students and twenty-somethings in New York, each of Flip’s three founders discovered how very painful renting space can be. Today we’re launching our company, Flip. You can read about us in The New York Times and on the blog of one of our investors, Joanne Wilson.

Flip’s mission is to level the playing field between renters and landlords with technology. The platform we are building makes it easy for people to create and access short term space by making it easy and affordable to sublet or get out of a lease. Until recently, only 10% of the internet was accessible. The rest was hidden in the so-called deep web. The same is true for real estate where a very small fraction of what is available can be viewed on listing website like Zillow. The reason? It’s unwanted…but no one knows it.

The real estate industry doesn’t make it easy for renters to transition out of unwanted space. Before starting Flip and taking on the role of CEO, I was a co-founder of an international non-profit organization. Because of the job’s regular travel — which often lasted for extended periods of time — I found myself needing affordable and reliable housing. And the housing I needed was not for a couple of days. These periods could last one month or even nine months in places like Egypt, New York, San Francisco, and Mexico City. Because of a lack of good, safe options, I was forced to rely mainly on Craigslist, which was always a risky situation.

When I decided to head back to New York to go to Columbia Business School and move in with my long-term boyfriend, I soon experienced what so many of us have encountered: the relationship didn’t work out. My ex moved to Brooklyn and I found myself on the hook for the entire rent on a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, which, as a grad student, I just couldn’t afford.

It was even worse for my Columbia Business School classmate, Elias. As a non-US-citizen (he’s Lebanese), Elias had lived in 10 illegal sublets in 2 years and would have to pay a full year up front in cash if he wanted to get on his very own lease.

If you think that’s bad, listen to our 23 year old CTO, Roger’s, story: he had his name on 3 separate leases and was on the hook for a total of 26 months in rent. If he wanted to get out of any of these leases he faced thousands in penalty fees.

We created Flip to help renters navigate inevitable periods of uncertainty — taking the stress out of housing, which is one of life’s biggest expenses.

We’re excited to be launching Flip because we’re renters and city-dwellers and we’re more than ready for this. We think it’s high time for housing to be simplified in the same way that technology has brought convenience to travel and transportation in the last decade. Don’t you?

Live well and welcome to Flip,

Susannah, Elias, and Roger