You may have heard of the launch of a roommate matching service Colish yesterday. It’s a project born out of Startup Weekend Tokyo in May, that provides a meeting point for like-minded people to share a house with. I talked with Kentaro Ohara, who is one of the team members, and asked some questions about their service and what’s coming ahead.
Naoko (N): How do you describe Colish?
Kentaro (K): The tagline is “a roommate matching platform for a shared house with a spin”. We want to connect people who have unique visions and concept for their living spaces.
A User can go to Colish and post a concept for the shared house he wants to live. Here are some examples:
- Ph.D House: the “second laboratory” for academic people who want to connect with communities for other area of research.
- Farmers House: living by a farm while in Tokyo and share farming expereience.
- Session House: find a place with underground sound-proof studio where you can play music on your own and with other roomates.
N: How is Colish different from existing roommate matching web sites?
K: Users of other sites out there are more focused on the specs and location of the space. The biggest difference is that we are trying to match like-minded people who share a similar idea of what their priorities are, in terms of the quality of life.
N: Traditionally, room sharing has not been so popular in Japan, except for among siblings. Do you see any change in this perception?
K: I think so, at least in Tokyo for the past couple of years. I think more people are becoming more open to living with roommates, and share their space and life with others who are not siblings and marital partners.
N: Let me ask you about Startup Weekend. Why did you participate in it to bring this service together?
K: This was my second time. I think the event provides momentum to move projects forward in a short amount of time. The enthusiasm from the team members and other teams really helped. It was also a great place to meet people who want to create something. Colish team got along really well and had a good mixture of different talents.
N: What can we expect from Colish in the future?
K: We have a couple of additions planned already. First, we want to make the site available in English. I’m thinking about spreading the marketing effort in the U.S., probably in San Francisco first.
Next, we are thinking about adding partnership with landlords or rental property information providers. In Japan, not every place allows sharing a rental with non-family members. We want to make it easier for users to find a place after they find roommates.
Colish can also help landlords by providing added value to their place though finding unique renters. Together, a group of renters may be willing to pay a bit of higher rent, if they can find a place to enable the life they want to live.