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How Ajay Yadav Launched Roomi To Make Finding a Roommate Easier Than Ever Before

How Ajay Yadav Launched Roomi To Make Finding a Roommate Easier Than Ever Before

On today’s episode of Gritty Founder, Kreig Kent talks with Ajay Yadav about Roomi and getting an early stage product off the ground, building a network, and raising money from investors. Ajay shares some advice after experiencing both failure and success while fundraising and building a tech product.

Ajay Yadav is the Founder and CEO of Roomi, a peer-to-peer marketplace that helps people find shared housing and the right people to live with. Ajay created Roomi after experiencing the pain of searching for a housemate himself, spending countless hours emailing back and forth, sifting through candidates with conflicting preferences, and worrying about the safety and accuracy of listings. Convinced there was a better way, Ajay got to work building Roomi, which launched in 2015 and is now live across iOS, Android and web, and in 15 markets nationwide. Before founding Roomi, Ajay studied computer science at NYIT and helped launch two other startups. An expert on the sharing economy and the millennial mindset, Ajay is a regular contributor to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Network and The Huffington Post, and has been featured in the L.A. Times, TechCrunch, Fox5 News, The Real Deal, and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Some Questions Kreig Asks Ajay:

– How did you decide to become an entrepreneur? (6:44)
– Why did you raise money for Roomi, and what was that process like? (8:00)
– What did you do to get traction, and what did you show to investors? (20:59)
– How did you overcome the chicken and egg problem when starting a marketplace? (11:28)
– What is a story of failure that looking back now you actually think that was a blessing? (12:22)
– Can you share one story in your fundraising journey where you felt like a real failure? (13:28)
– How does Roomi generate revenue right now? (16:31)
– How do you get feedback from users, and what does your iteration process look like? (18:13)
– What is your advice to founders who are not sure what they want to work on but know that they want to start something of their own? (19:40)
– What’s some actionable advice for building a network? (20:37)
– How did you go about building a team? (23:18)
– How do you attract talent? (24:53)
– Did you hire people before you raised money? (25:47)
– Who was your first investor? (26:02)
– What’s your advice to people who are just starting to reach out cold to investors? (26:57)
– Do you still keep in touch with the investors that initially rejected you? (27:43)
– Why do you feel like investors are given so much attention these days? (28:01)
– How do you know as an entrepreneur what company is a company that you should raise money for and when you should focus on building out the business without having to raise money? (28:38)

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

– How Ajay started Roomi (2:17)
– About Ajay’s journey as an entrepreneur (3:02)
– About Ajay’s experience raising money for Roomi (7:39)
– The importance of being able to show traction when fundraising (9:08)
– About Ajay’s difficulties raising money and how he dealt with rejection (12:31)
– About Roomi’s monetization strategy (16:42)
– How to build a network if you don’t have one (20:56)
– Ajay’s advice and strategy when hiring (23:36)
– How Ajay raised money from Roomi’s first investor (26:28)
– How Ajay stays in touch with investors that initially rejected him (27:50)

Connect with Ajay Yadav:

Personal Website

See Also

Also Mentioned on This Show…

Ajay’s favorite quote:
“Anything that happens to you at any given moment is the best thing that can ever happen to you.”

Ajay’s book recommendation:
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss

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