Dan Laufer: Co-founder & CEO of RentLingo

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the tech industry?

I was fortunate enough to go to Stanford for Business School. Seeing all the innovation in the region and having the opportunity to hear from incredible tech leaders and innovators drove my desire to jump into the industry. It also made it accessible whereas before it seemed fairly intimidating to break into tech.

Tell us about RentLingo. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?

My co-founder and I met at Stanford and quickly recognized the shared passion for adding transparency to the apartment rental process.

What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to RentLingo's success?

We power reviews for some of the largest sites in the industry and that has helped us build credibility and recognition.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

Consumers are making progressively larger and more valuable decisions online. The more information and transparency you can offer, the more empowered and more likely to transact they’ll be.

Life Motto?

Always be humble.

RentLingo's Motto?

Create as much transparency for renters as possible.

Your greatest success as Founder/CEO of RentLingo? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

I’m very proud of the partnerships we’ve already struck. We’re already powering reviews for some major players in the apartment rental industry and that’s pretty incredible considering we’ve only launched in five markets. We’ve seen strong growth on our site on the consumer side (>20X in the last 18 months) and I think that’s a function of our reviews resonating so strongly with renters.

There are many difficult moments at every step. In fact, it can sometimes feel like it’s never easy. The hardest moment though was at the very beginning. I had a falling out with a would-be co-founder and it stung. We were both too worried about figuring out what the future company looked like and how much of our hypothetical riches we’d own that we didn’t focus on just progressing the business and get the ball rolling.

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Take one step at a time. Even Facebook started off by serving one small community. Figure out how to serve one small community well and let that momentum build.

Describe the ideal experience using RentLingo.

Someone who’s looking for an apartment rental in a market we’ve launched (such as Houston or Phoenix). They can quickly filter on their budget and key attributes and immediately see the best available property. On other sites, it’s hard to know how all these properties compare and we’ve gone through the work to streamline renters’ decision process.

How do you motivate your employees?

There are a few things I think any good employee values: shared conviction in the direction of the business and having a sense of impact on it. To that end, we’re very transparent about everything internally from our KPIs to challenges we’re facing and future plans. And everyone on the team has tremendous input on how their role should fit into that overarching plan, which ultimately dictates (and enhances) their respective impact.  

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

Oh, that’s tough. Is it cheating if I say my wife’s cooking and a cold beer?  

What literature is on your bed stand?

My Dad is writing a book on our family history and I’ve been reading it as he’s going along. Beyond the appreciation of getting to know my family roots better, it’s also helped give me perspective that my problems aren’t that serious. The challenges my grandfather faced at my age as a Jewish Hungarian citizen dwarfs anything I worry about.

Role model - business and personal?

Too many to meaningfully narrow down.

Current passion?

I almost cringe saying this, but CrossFit. From the outside I assumed it was meathead weightlifters but in my experience, it’s an incredible community of people that support and encourage you to challenge yourself on a regular basis.

Favorite travel destination?

South Africa – it’s beautiful, the people are friendly and there’s such an amazing diversity of incredible things to do.

What's next for RentLingo?

We’re rapidly expanding our review footprint and are launching new partners very soon as well. You can track our progress here:

www.RentLingo.com

www.facebook.com/RentLingo

www.twitter.com/RentLingo