How a Toronto Startup’s Online Marketplace Benefits Renters and Landlords Alike
As young generations graduate from college, many migrate to city centers in search of rewarding employment. Toronto continues to be a popular destination for young startups, but this popularity has made the search for affordable housing increasingly difficult.

Anyone that has moved to a new city has likely gone through the process of checking multiple home or apartment search engines daily, exchanging numerous calls or emails with landlords, taking a share of disappointing tours, and filing dozens of applications before finally finding the right fit.

The Inspiration Behind Casalova

Casalova got its start in May 2015 as part of Canada’s top university business incubator, The DMZ, and was co-founded by Ray Taaeb and Curtis Layne. Taaeb’s personal experience with renting in Toronto was a large motivating factor behind the company’s birth. Currently, the Casalova platform serves more than 25,000 active users per month, and provides access to thousands of properties across Canada. Taaeb and Layne also plan to expand their platform to include U.S. properties in the near future.

How Casalova Is Changing the ‘Renting-Game’

The Toronto-based startup Casalova seeks to streamline the rental experience for both renters and landlords through their comprehensive online rental marketplace. Their motto is simple and to the point: “Spend less time searching and more time living.”

For interested renters moving to Toronto, this is precisely the service needed. Casalova’s site allows users to search across a number of new listings in neighborhoods throughout Toronto, schedule viewings, and submit applications on one easy-to-use platform. While Casalova is based in Toronto, their search engine includes more than a dozen Canadian cities, including Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, and Ottawa.

Although they are far from the first rental search engine online, Casalova differentiates itself by focusing on improving the process for landlords, not just renters. According to Taaeb, “The way we’re really changing the game is by, for one, allowing landlords to feel comfortable booking a tenant online. You don’t know who that tenant might be. Is it really a good decision? In Ontario and Canada, the laws are very much in favour of tenants.”

In an effort to flip the table, Casalova offers landlords two distinct packages. The first is a fee-free, self-service option that allows landlords to create and manage an unlimited number of listings. The second, however, provides much more value.

Landlords that agree to pay somewhere between $10 and $20 per month, per building to list their properties will enjoy a number of additional services, including professional photography, tenant risk screenings, syndications to other search sites like Craigslist and Kijiji, and, perhaps most importantly, a $50,000 rent income guarantee that protects landlords in the event that a tenant defaults on their rental agreement.

Right Place, Right Time

For Taaeb, his company is at the forefront of revolutionizing the online rental marketplace. “I don’t think our platform would have worked five years ago,” he says. But “now’s the time where we feel like, ‘OK, we have the technology here and we have the manpower to do it.’ Kijiji has been around for over a decade. It’s had its time, it’s been great, but now this is an evolution of that marketplace. Consumers are ready for a new solution.”

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Posted by: DSR
Friday, July 1, 2016
Tag: Business Start Ups
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