Every single person who has ever tried to find accommodation abroad knows all the hardships of communicating with property owners in a foreign language, arriving too late to view the flat or getting tricked into paying twice as much for a terrible apartment. Pepe Housing is a Polish startup that immediately became a game-changer, offering a transparent, fraud-proof platform for the apartment search, dedicated (but not limited to) foreign students coming to Poland.
Piotr Ziętara, one of two co-founders of Pepe Housing, knows the struggle first-hand. He used to live in Barcelona for three years and observe incoming international students, who repeatedly failed at finding an affordable apartment because of a language barrier, unawareness of the local property market and proprietors’ dishonesty. Upon his return to Poland, he noticed that the problem is universal in all countries. This prompted him to team up with Paweł Gawor and to create a solution to this problem.
The Pepe Housing co-founders are childhood friends. Ziętara is an economics graduate – he has studied in Warsaw, Groningen (Netherlands) and Barcelona. Gawor has studied law in Warsaw and Katowice and started gaining experience in the real estate field while working in various corporations.
The main idea behind Pepe Housing is simple: incoming students browse through apartment offers and choose the one they like most. Then, the startup team contacts the proprietor and arranges all the details. As they verify all offers and provide a secure payment system, there is virtually no possibility of fraud. One-time booking fee is up to 50% lower than the one required by traditional real estate agencies. Additionally, all bookings can be made a few months in advance, what is advantageous for both sides of the transaction. To ensure that all offers are sufficiently illustrated, Pepe Housing offers a free-of-charge professional photo shoot for every apartment.
The biggest asset of Pepe Housing is that it closely cooperates with universities and student organizations. This way, they are able to reach both international students and property owners who target this group of tenants. Additionally, recommendations received from higher education institutions proves to be especially important when contacting real estate agents, investors or individual proprietors.
Pepe Housing develops quite dynamically: with a growth rate of approximately 30% a month, they have already they have already accounted for more than 35 thousand rental nights. Last year, Pepe Housing was present in Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Łódź, Poznań and Tricity. Their first seed round, closed by the end of 2016, will enable them to enter international markets. Ziętara said, “the problem of student accommodation is international, and our scalable solutions allow for swift expansion.” In 2017, the team plans to enter three foreign markets: Hungary, Czech Republic and Spain.