Peek, a Virtual Touring Platform, Takes Aim at Matterport With $2.5M in New Funding
‘Sabermetrics of real estate’ lets renters remotely view apartments — and landlords see what prospects are viewing
Peek, a virtual leasing tour startup that seeks to be what it calls the “sabermetrics of real estate” by allowing renters to remotely view actual multifamily apartments and landlords to see what the prospects are looking at, has set its sights on challenging proptech giant Matterport.
Founded in 2019 and based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Peek is being used in more than 150,000 units and has partnered with Greystar, Toll Brothers and Brookfield. In May, Peek completed a $2.5 million seed round led by GFA Venture Partners.
“At GFA, our LPs saw firsthand the challenges of adapting to the changing consumer landscape and the demand for a truly digital leasing experience,” GFA Venture Partners said in a statement at the time of the seed round. “Chris and Austin have a unique perspective and have clearly struck a nerve in the industry with the platform that they have built at Peek and we are excited to join them and support their mission”
Peek co-founders Chris Kostoulas and Austin Lo met on Craigslist during their own apartment search in New York City four years prior to Peek’s founding. They drew on their backgrounds in data, finance and operations, as well as Lo’s experience as a licensed New York City real estate agent, to develop a platform that could disrupt the traditional leasing model and streamline the process for renters. When the pandemic slammed the brakes on in-person apartment tours in early 2020, Peek was positioned to fill a void for developers and renters alike.
Lo, Peek’s CEO, likes to compare the company to e-commerce platform Shopify.
“Our company is looking to do essentially what Shopify did for sellers of goods,” said Lo. “When we think about [viewing] apartments, if you can give people that confidence that, ‘Hey, what you see is what you’re going to get,’ that’s how you actually build trust and unlock e-commerce.”
Peek operates nationally, using its gig worker network to virtualize apartment buildings, Lo said. The property managers or owners pay for the service, which includes the coordination of the content creation.
Peek can also provide owners with detailed information about what prospective renters are spending the most time looking at, said Lo.
“The way our tours are structured, essentially all the data’s labeled,” Lo said. “Every single room is labeled and we track user sessions down to the room level. So I can tell whether this prospect has spent 70 percent of their time looking at the kitchens in the four units that they’ve browsed inside of my building. Importantly, we can sync all this data into the property management system’s CRM so that it’s right at the fingertips of the leasing teams that are utilizing it.”
The data can get granular quickly.
“You can see where this goes: if we aggregate the data and look at it top down, being able to determine trends, and even to go more in-depth to recognize styles, finishes and characteristics that are garnering the most attention,” Lo said. “We can even correlate it to how long the property is on the market.”
Philip Russo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.