How Padlist wants to make finding the right place simpler

By Courtney Gabrielson, CharlotteInno

If home is where your heart is, you want to make sure that you find the right one.

And Padlist, the 2015-born Charlotte startup, wants to make that process easier.

Established by husband-and-wife duo Lindsay and Blake Van Leer, the startup uses data and artificial intelligence to better align users with homes that fully mesh with both their personalities and needs.

“[Moving is] one of the most stressful things in life, right behind death and divorce,” Blake told Charlotte Inno. “It’s a huge pain point, and our goal is to streamline this process.”

The Van Leer’s first got the idea for Padlist back in 2015, when they themselves were in the middle of a move. The major apartment websites had an overwhelming number of options, many of which were sponsored and not necessarily a good fit for the couple.

“We immediately pivoted to Craigslist to find an actual deal,” Blake said.

“Our second year was when we found our perfect home,” he said.

Van Leer quickly realized he wasn’t the only one frustrated with the pad-finding process; friends on the move bemoaned the stress of it all, and landlords were often displeased, too. Apartment sites either weren’t finding them the right customers who would qualify for their spaces, or leads just weren’t coming in, period.

“We’re growing 150+ percent,” Blake said. “We’re revenue positive. Unlike a lot of startups, we’re also profitable.”

Padlist launched its updated website (under a new name) this year. It allows users to start the search process by either speaking with a locator specialist or examining a specific neighborhood in one of the site’s 10 cities (Chicago, Charlotte, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.). Then, users are prompted to answer a few questions about their lifestyle and preferences. From there, the site identifies the best neighborhood in relation to the users’ responses and the best deal that corresponds to their specified needs.

If the generated match intrigues, users can then set up a tour directly through Padlist. If the apartment looked better on paper, worry not! Renters have the option to rate the experience and consider more recommendations based on their thoughts from the tour.

Padlist’s free assistance to renters and home-buyers doesn’t stop there (The company generates revenue by charging to list on the platform).

“Once you’ve leased, we then give you a check in-list; we don’t just leave you and send you an email in a year when your lease is up,” Blake said. It provides everything from how to find utilities to where the best local groomers keep shop, as well as favorite local picks from folks who’ve lived in the area.

Padlist website. Courtesy photo.

Padlist has resonated with both real estate (and entreprenurial) leaders alike.

“We haven’t done any advertising,” Blake said. “Landlord are telling their leasing offices, renters are telling their friends.”

The company, which is now in the midst of an angel round, has found advisors who resonate with its mission, too. Kathy Ireland, the entrepreneur behind a $2.6 billion retail empire, is just one of those thought leaders who is guiding the Van Leers as they continue to grow their business.

On the docket for that growth is expanding its geographic profile, finishing the site’s test pilot, adding to the team and debuting new technology to enhance the users’ experiences (think video footage allowing viewers to get a real-time glimpse at the space they’re interested in, and more).

In the meantime, Padlist plans to sustain its success.

“We’re growing 150+ percent,” Blake said. “We’re revenue positive. Unlike a lot of startups, we’re also profitable.”