Finding a student room online in the Netherlands can be everything but easy. Justus and David from Roomwise claim their platform matches likeminded roommates… for free. How is that possible?
‘We provide a completely free service for both home seekers and home providers’, David says. David, a third year student of Psychology at the University of Groningen, is part of Roomwise, a platform that links roommates to each other. On the Roomwise website students can search for homes, but also for people.
‘You can create a profile which others will see, with an indication on how well the two of you will fit together. On Roomwise you can post your profile, your room or property and push a button that leads to the algorithm questions. The response to those questions will be related to those of others.’
On the Roomwise website students can search for homes, but also for people.
To not help the competition too much, David cannot give too much information on how the algorithm works exactly.
‘We ask each participant to reflect on twenty questions. Their responses can vary from I completely agree to I completely disagree. Based on these answers the algorithm fine tunes the output you will see in the end.’
Alright, if people prefer not to answer these questions, can they still use the website?
‘Yes. The matching part isn’t mandatory, we don’t want to force anyone to answer these questions.’
What happens with the information people share on Roomwise?
‘The information that users provide to us is solely used by our website to allow the users to benefit from our functionality.’
How did you come up with the idea?
‘The idea goes back quite a long time. When I moved to Groningen myself, I found the process of searching for housing very troublesome. There were these Facebook groups and all these paid services. It was expensive or messy and chaotic. On Facebook, it is hard to filter stuff. A lot of messages are going to a mailbox and get lost. I thought it would be quite handy to create a platform that would be free and helpful. And now, three years later, we have started to develop this idea further.’
When I moved to Groningen myself, I found the process of searching for housing very troublesome.
David’s team partner Justus points out that it’s also very frustrating to go to a place and realize that these are not the kind of people you want to live with.
‘With Roomwise we can improve that’, the third year student of Media Studies says. ‘We are able to make sure right from the start that there is a click, and that you don’t have to go through the same process a hundred times.’
David thinks that there are multiple things that make finding a student room online stressful.
‘You have to deal with all sorts of regulations and on top of that you are confronted with the difficult housing situation. Of course you want to live with people you actually like, you don’t want to end up in a place where you don’t feel at home. That’s what our platform aims to help with.’
Who is behind Roomwise?
‘There are seven in our team. We are quite diverse. Some of us are good friends from back home. After talking to other people and winning them to our idea, people were just quite amazed about what we planned to do and one after another joined our team.’
Our platform wants to be there for anyone who is looking for a better way to look for a place to live
The team consists of students from both the RUG and the Hanze ‘Filipe, a second year student of Artificial Intelligence at Groningen University, is our developer. Johann, a third year Design student at Minerva, takes care of the branding and the corporate identity, along with May, also a Design student at Minerva. First year student of Environmental Psychology Sal does our public relations. Finally there’s Ollie, a second year Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is responsible for marketing and business administration.’
Justus explains that Roomwise is not only for students.
‘Our platform wants to be there for anyone who is looking for a better way to look for a place to live. We just want to help. On the long term we would like to offer additional services which will help us to generate some revenues, but our website primary functions will always stay for free’.