yoJanus is the only site that gives you in depth reviews on what it is like to live at that particular rental for both apartments and single family homes.
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Product / Service Offering: User-Generated Database of Tenant Experiences
Co-founder Interviewed: Seth Abramson CEO/Founder
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight Series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
yoJanus focuses on social responsibility. Since I was 18 I have wanted to create companies that were either environmentally responsible or socially responsible. The first company I started, Daniel Island Bike Taxi, is environmental. With yoJanus, I am focusing on improving the trust and transparency between tenants and landlords.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
yoJanus recently reincorporated in Delaware in 2018, but we were originally an LLC in South Carolina, founded July 2018.
I had one terrible property management experience. She would take weeks to fix important issues. Sometimes she would not fix them at all. For example, I complained about black mold growing on my ceiling. Three weeks later she simply painted over the mold, which eventually just grew back. I then had a great landlord, who fixed my air conditioning within 24 hours in the middle of the summer. If I had known about this guy I would have chosen to live with him well before I ever signed a lease with her. I created yoJanus to help inform my fellow renters.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
yoJanus’ mission is to help renters find homes and landlords they love.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
We had no idea if our idea would take off. We knew that we as renters would use it, but we were not sure if the majority of renters would. The founders and I rode bikes around town chasing down U-Haul trucks. We offered to help move in and out of their house if they would take our survey and give us their general feedback about the idea. What we found out was young renters love the idea and think that there is a huge need for it. Their parents also loved the idea because they were concerned about the safety and well-being of their child.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
We used Startup Financial Model to create our financial projections. That company is awesome. I highly recommend them. We used Nelson Mullins to incorporate into Delaware. They made the process a breeze.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We originally bootstrapped this company then secured the rest of the funding through a convertible note.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Our conversion rate is not as high as we would like. We would like more of our users to leave reviews and contribute to the database.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Lots of people are going to try and give you their opinion and advice. Some will be helpful; some will be just looking out for their own interest. It is important to always stick to your core principles.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
We are not a company here to bash landlords. We want to give positive exposure to good landlords, and give tenants the power to make an informed choice. Our hope is those good landlords will be able to fill their homes quicker with better and more informed tenants. Over 35% of our reviews are what we consider positive and only 35% are what we consider negative. Everyone else is middle of the road.
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