By: Brad Graves – San Diego Business Journal
Friday, September 26, 2014
Michael Koh wants you to forget about the standard way of finding a home online. His business, Fypio, approaches the search from a different angle.
Instead of starting with parameters such as a ZIP code and the number of bedrooms, the Fypio smartphone app starts with personal preferences. It’s is kind of like Match.com, Koh said — except it’s for real estate.
The Fypio app lets people tag what they like about a home, such as a particular type of kitchen, proximity to great schools or tolerance for crime in a neighborhood. As the app learns the prospective buyer’s tastes, it might suggest other options. As time passes, Fypio gains a richer knowledge of its user.
Other real estate apps don’t take the buyer into account and concentrate instead on pushing information out, said Koh, Fypio’s CEO.
Koh and business partner John Kvasnic recently soft-launched the Fypio app in its first market — San Diego. The region is an excellent market to kick off the service, Koh said, since its neighborhoods range from the very affordable (Lemon Grove) to very expensive (Rancho Santa Fe).
Fypio (at http://fyp.io) is now available for iOS phones at the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) App Store. An Android version is coming soon.
So far Koh and Kvasnic have amassed $1.4 million to get the business off the ground. The partners individually put $100,000 into the venture, and then raised $800,000 to make $1 million in seed funding. More recently they took on $400,000 in angel funding. The business has yet to generate revenue.
The app’s other features include a unique glimpse into neighborhood character: It shows what the folks in a particular part of the city post to Instagram. And speaking of social media, the app lets people share home photos and comments with friends and family.
Kvasnic is based in Toronto, as are Fypio’s nine employees. Koh is the sole San Diegan.
Where might Fypio go next? Koh and Kvasnic are looking at Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, Dallas and Washington, D.C.
Some have suggested that Koh might exit his business by selling to an existing real estate dot-com, such as Zillow. Koh has bigger plans.
“If we do it right,” he said, “Zillow won’t be able to afford us.”