We’re excited to introduce one our new companies, Bungalow, a new residential real estate platform that provides beautiful homes with great roommates to early career professionals.
In just one year, Bungalow has quietly built a seamless digital-first experience for both existing homeowners and early career professionals, quickly growing to include hundreds of properties with over 750 residents in key markets including the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Seattle, Portland and Washington, D.C.
Today, Bungalow also announces it has raised $64 Million to continue offering a better rental experience.
We sat down with Andrew Collins, the co-founder and CEO of Bungalow, to learn more about how the company started, what it’s offering its customers and what to expect in the future.
How did Bungalow start?
It all really started when I first came out to San Francisco; the pain of moving to a new city, having to find a home and build a new friend group was rough.
By the time I joined Atomic’s Founder In Residence program, the things that made it hard for me had only grown for early career professionals across the country who are drawn to cities in droves, but struggle to find places to live. In addition to finding a great home, they have a hard time building community. I was ready to explore how to build a solution.
What were the first key learnings?
As I started to dig into why the problem existed and what living options existed, I saw a lot of room for improvement. There were different companies working hard to make more space, but I saw a huge opportunity to offer people not just a room to live in, but a home. Home to me means a place I look forward to being in, that has everything I need both inside and around it, and where I’m surrounded by people I enjoy.
So, I started thinking about how we could create homes this group could afford and would want to live in when they move to a new city. A key element was making having roommates a positive addition — not a risk.
To go from concept to company, what next?
We took a deep dive into the study of group dynamics, all based on the underpinnings of sociology/psychology. Looking at group behavior and dynamics that push different behavior patterns, we really thought about relationships and interactions and the importance of strong ties and weak ties. We’re solving a community and personal problem as much as a business one. Recognizing that and being able to conduct research with that frame was essential.
We were able to lean into Atomic resources. We tapped the expertise of Harvard behavioral psychologists and research on loneliness to build maxims into our model that would enhance the bonding among residents and help us really understand the experience of studio living many feel forced into based on resource constraints.
We were able to dig into everything from ideal sizes of homes to how roommate selection is designed with deep academic background and guidances.
You knew there was a better way, how did you know Bungalow was a viable business?
As we were concepting, it was great to be surrounded by thought leaders and mentors and other operators who have already achieved great success and could gut check strategies, or serve as a sounding board against which to bounce ideas.
We were able to move from a thesis to a testable business model really quickly, testing demand and messaging with both homeowners and potential residents first and foremost.
All of this heavy lift was imperative to landing where we are, because it’s not an unknown problem and there’s a developing ecosystem, but we found they all compromised something, and we weren’t willing to do that.
With just Atomic funding and the help of the Atomic platform of functional expertise, we were able to get into several houses and have them fully rented, testing pricing and purchasing models in just a few months.
Having proven metrics and the in-depth market analysis we developed in the process was invaluable as we expanded into new markets and sought outside capital.
Bungalow today is a testament to what we were able to show, and I’m SO proud to be easing a new generation of city dwellers into their new homes and lives.