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Cribify makes student housing more accessible (and entertaining)

London is well known for being a student city. Each September, new Londoners join our communities and study at our world-renowned academic institutions, bringing innovation and entrepreneurship along with them. A group of roommates, and now co-founders of Cribify, were part of the bustling student community looking for a place to rent when they saw (and decided to solve) a frustratingly common student issue: housing. The four co-founders of Cribify, Marwan Shara, Jaiden Sarai, Matthew Diab, and Shubs Kaushal were randomly paired together as roommates in student residences during their first year together at Western University. When the year came to an end and it was time for them to rent their first apartment together, they realized how difficult the process can be, specifically for first-time student tenants. After many unanswered emails and failed attempts, they were able to find a place to live, and once settled in their new home, they decided to help other student tenants avoid the pain and prolonged process of finding a safe and comfortable place to live. Thus, Cribify was founded in January of 2022 and will be officially launching its app-based platform this month.

Cribify is a data-driven rental unit and tenant searching and matching application that takes the guess work out of the rental process. Designed and built entirely by the young student founders from front to back, Cribify offers an easy to maneuver, no-strings-attached way for students to search through available properties and find housing in an innovative way. Designed to act like Tinder or other apps of the like (but for houses, of course), Cribify lets potential tenants swipe through photos and information on available housing in their chosen search criteria. Searching tenants can input information about the type of property they are looking to rent, the geographical location, their preferred price range, and more. 

To give ease to the potential landlords listing on Cribify, searching tenants are encouraged to input personal information about their credentials, personalities, interests, and more, taking the guess work out of the communication between landlords and housing-seekers. When a potential tenant swipes right (suggesting an interest in the property), the property owner can then verify if the tenant is a good fit, and initiate the in-app chat feature to continue the conversation. This allows for a fair approach to finding the right fit for everyone involved. It also seems like a lot more fun than scrolling through online marketplaces hoping for a property listing that will ghost you. With future modifications in the works, such as like built-in criminal background checks and other verifying details for both parties, Cribify is taking the grueling process of rental searching (and tenant searching) and putting all of the information in one easy to navigate space. “With this data-driven approach, we found that more specific details about renters and landlords pertaining to credentials and needs took a lot of the guess work out of the process”, says Shubs Kaushal, “It solves a painful problem for both student renters and those renting to students”. 

In a market flooded with confusion and overruled by big players, Cribify allows for a safer and more accessible space to find and fill housing needs. Renting is a competitive market, especially for first-time renters, and it only gets more difficult as Ontario’s housing market fluctuates at unprecedented rates. With a focus on student generations, those impacted the most by rental housing, Cribify aims to ease the pressure of the rental market and make their innovation continue to grow and mold with its ever-changing industry. With plans to expand past the student demographic and make modifications based off of continued user data, these four young entrepreneurs exemplify the grit and dedication it takes to put hard work into their innovation. “Our goal was driven by the fact that we genuinely wanted to solve a problem that we faced as student renters”, said Kaushal, “We saw this huge gap in the market that has been ignored, and with such a fragmented market to begin with, it seemed like a no-brainer to introduce more customer-driven strategy”. Of course, it was far from a no-brainer, as the four founders, each studying full time in areas of business management, software engineering, and computer sciences, built this venture entirely on their own from the living room of their rental home. Working around the clock to manage their time, they learned the marketing, business, coding, and networking tools they needed to get to where Cribify is today – and they’ve only just begun. 

In the process of an official launch, the Cribify founders have their sights set on more accelerators and venture help in London. “Using the academic institutes and other programs for entrepreneurial aid in the city, we are able to continue our growth and connect with the community and other entrepreneurs”, says Kaushal. With a recent first-place win at Western University’s Entrepreneurship Association Case Competition and acceptance into the Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship powered by Ivey Business School, Cribify is well on its way to more deserved accolades and local growth and appreciation. Being the recent recipients of a $20K grant from the Morrissette Institute, two of the Cribify founders will be able to focus their entrepreneurship full-time throughout the summer, propelling Cribify with even more dedication and time for innovation. 

Gearing up for their first student-fueled September renting frenzy, Cribify can help students and property owners make the process easy and painless, and maybe even a little fun. 

To learn more or download the app and start your search, go to www.cribify.ca 

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