RoomSync has been quietly building a business around helping college students find the right roommate, through a service that integrates Facebook profile data. Enabled by a growing number of universities for on-campus housing, it accesses very particular portions of a user’s profile information, then allows students to enter their own information into the app, and lets them browse and locate their own roommate matches.
Robert J. Castellucci, one of four co-founders of RoomSync, tells us the idea for the company started when he was tasked with roommate matching in a previous job. This type of work is always tedious, he said, largely because it’s done by third parties. What RoomSync does is allows students to determine their own types of preferences for roommates, throwing Facebook profile information into the mix, something the company currently does for 21 institutions across the United States.
Thus far the company has a total of 27,000 users, with many coming in just the last few months. RoomSync offers as a subscription to which institutions subscribe, which includes an initial setup fee and an annual fee, but is free to students, the users.
Castellucci adds that RoomSync has managed not only to match roommates, but to build community and help students make friends before they start school at some of the company’s participating institutions. One school’s reported roommate conflicts went down, as did the severity of the conflicts, and that diversity was unaffected between roommates by use of the app.
First, students receive an email from the institution with an access code. On Facebook, the app culls Likes, such as music and TV and books, and then places students into matching networks. Users can share their use of the app to the stream as a feed story, too. There are five default questions asked by the app and the institution may add up to five more for matching purposes; these questions include their smoking preference or to describe their ideal roommate, for example. There’s a box where they can fill in additional information (that’s moderated for inappropriate content), too.
Then users search the app via academic majors, residence halls where they would like to live, they can view suggested roommates (based on Likes) and then communicate with them over Facebook before selecting their roommates via the Request Roommate option. The recipient of this invitation must confirm, and all dual confirmations are sent to the university for final assignations; once these are made, the app closes for users.