After a poor experience looking for an apartment, Jonathan Eppers founded RadPad, a mobile rental marketplace. Now as the largest rental marketplace in Los Angeles, RadPad remains renter-focused. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Jonathan about his path to entrepreneurship and how RadPad is changing how Millennials rent.
Erik Huberman: What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
J: I don’t ever think I said to myself, “I want to be an entrepreneur.” My parents were both entrepreneurs, owning multiple business, my grandparents both owned their own businesses. Growing up, I always imagined myself working for myself. I started my own business when I was 10; it was a lawn business. Then when I was in college, I started a web design business that paid for about half of my schooling. Right out of college, I started working for other companies like MySpace and eHarmony before I thought of the idea for RadPad and started that. I think for most entrepreneurs, it’s just in their DNA; and you start whenever you’re ready.
EH: Tell me about RadPad.
J: RadPad is a renter-focused mobile marketplace that helps renters find apartments and pay their rent. We got into this space because I was looking for an apartment about three years ago and having such a difficult time with that experience. I never felt like anyone really built something to help renters; all the platforms seemed built for landlords. Today, people in their 20s like to rent. They value the convenience and being able to move to new areas quickly. Moving is something they should be able to look forward to, but most people are aggravated by the experience. We wanted to change that. RadPad’s now the largest rental marketplace in Los Angeles. More renters use RadPad and we have more listings than both Craigslist and Westside Rentals. We’ve expanded nationally, too, and have a local community manager that lives in every city we expand into.
EH: How are you changing the world?
J: The mission behind RadPad is to make renting easier. What we really see us doing is changing the entire experience of what it means to rent. We want to make the process of finding a place much easier and hope it leaves renters feeling optimistic. Additionally, most young people don’t write checks, and when they do it’s only for rent. So we’re making it possible for them to retire their checkbook and pay their rent using our services. It’s really about trying to create a platform and experience the user will use the entire time they’re renting and make that part of their life much easier.
EH: Why Santa Monica?
J: We actually started in West Hollywood, which is where I live. We worked out of my house for the first eight months. Then we moved over to Venice and worked out of the Amplify office. After we raised money and could go where we wanted to go, we chose Santa Monica. Quite frankly, Santa Monica is an exciting place to be. When it comes to recruiting talent, it’s a great city that people want to work and live in. We are on the corner of 5th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard,so it’s a short walk to the Third Street Promenade and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Monica is also one of the hottest neighborhoods to rent in L.A., which is important for us to be in. Itkeeps us connected to our customers.
EH: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?
J: First and foremost, be passionate about whatever it is you’re doing. It may seem obvious, but I think a lot of people start things to make a quick buck or to jump on whatever’s cool. Building a company is one of the hardest things people can do professionally, and most people will fail — I failed at my second company. What gets you through those tough times of the startup rollercoaster is the belief that what you’re doing is the right thing. So the first thing you have to have is a strong passion and belief in whatever you want to do.
EH: Is there anything you’d like to share with the Santa Monica community?
J: Santa Monica is a very exciting city. It caters very much so to a young audience. There are great apartments and nightlife and it’s so close to the beach. We don’t want to just be in Santa Monica; we want to partner with Santa Monica to make it a great place to live and work.