Living in an apartment can be a lonely life, but A roof is here to change that. The company offers a hyper-local social networking app that aims to connect people in the same residential building around common interests such as hobbies and even organize a common goal again.
The pre-revenue business has grown tremendously since we profiled it in 2021 after OneRoof raised $1.25 million in funding. At the time, CEO Selin Sonmez told australiabusinessblog.com that the app was live in 400 buildings in New York City, and today that has increased to more than 40,000 active neighbors in 1,300 buildings in New York and Miami. OneRoof has also done a soft launch in Dallas, she added.
If you try to imagine how OneRoof works, Sonmez says the company is often compared to NextDoor. It helps people living in the same apartment building to connect, network, exchange information, buy and sell items, help with pets, meet in person and create a sense of community.
The free app is based on what Sonmez called “a community of champions,” known as Super Neighbors — essentially the people in your apartment building who “act as the glue for their community,” she said. From that position, they can access sponsorship of neighbor events, join their city’s exclusive Super Neighbor Club, and share feedback with OneRoof for future app development.
“‘Super Neighbors’ are a critical but neglected social circle,” she added. “No one knows who his neighbors are, so we are building an essential social fabric in society. Our long-term mission is to unite and empower neighbors under OneRoof and create more resilient urban cities, both socially and economically.”
In 2021, OneRoof was still just a chat room app where neighbors could talk to each other digitally. It has since changed with a personal events feature, enhanced user profiles to highlight interests, a neighbor list, and a “grow” feature to help people create their own communities.
The concept appears to appeal to apartment dwellers: In Super Neighbor buildings, OneRoof saw more than 78% of users continue to use the app after 12 weeks, and more than 65% continued to use it after 24 weeks, Sonmez said. In addition, in the fourth quarter, in-person events, including happy hours and meeting someone for a workout, were created on OneRoof compared to the prior quarter.
The company has continued to grow, receiving between 30 and 40 Super Neighbor requests per day and seeing a 20% increase in user numbers per month. To get them on board, Sonmez and co-founder Nikos Georgantas needed to grow their team, so they decided to go for another round of funding.
However, this was in the spring and summer when the venture capital market slowed. As a result, Sonmez said she didn’t just have to make some tough decisions, such as cutting the marketing budget by 90% to keep OneRoof’s existing team in place. She had nearly 80 investor meetings during that time and even had to answer some unexpected questions.
“We suddenly got questions about revenue, which wouldn’t be the case for social startups at our stage before markets changed, so it took us time to find the right partners,” she added. “There was also uncertainty in the market about pricing, so we have not priced the round until there is more clarity.”
Eventually, Sonmez found good investment partners and raised $3.2 million in seed funding to give the company $4.45 million in total funding. Leading the lap, Chamaeleon was joined by Dream Machine, Gaingels, General Catalyst, The Helm and a group of angel investors including Margo Georgiadis of Synetro Group, former Andreessen Horowitz investor D’Arcy Coolican, Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen and Elomida Visviki.
The funding enabled OneRoof to add four new employees and is currently seeking two more positions. Sonmez also plans to invest in app development, software, sponsorship and marketing.
In terms of the company’s current major engagement and retention milestones, OneRoof has gained a lot of ground, but Sonmez still has a lot to achieve.
“We want to do more,” she added. “There are hundreds of millions of people living in this country and we want to make sure we can grow our products and put them in the hands of anyone who has a neighbor who thinks, ‘Oh, I wish I knew who they were. ‘”