95. Kindroom

As the UK grapples with soaring housing costs, Kindroom is a unique platform that allows members to exchange their skills for free or reduced rent.

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Founders: Bernard Darko, Slava Boiko, and Mandeep Rose Japhet
Year founded: 2022
Website: kindroom.com 

The rising cost of rent in the UK is a crisis that is putting a strain on the finances of millions of people. Particularly in cities, where costs have far outpaced wage growth, it is increasingly difficult for people to outbid fellow renters and find affordable housing.

Kindroom founders Bernard Darko, Slava Boiko and Mandeep Rose Japhet experienced the impact of this brutal landscape first-hand. Facing eviction after a sudden rent increase, they were desperate. The trio decided to ask around to see if anyone would accept alternative payment…and were shocked by the number of interested landlords who got in touch.

Kindroom is the result of that lightbulb moment. Instead of hard-earned wonga, tenants exchange hard-learned skills, using a trade like decorating or a skill like coding to pay for a roof over their heads.

Similar to an Airbnb listing, tenants can simply hop onto the Kindroom platform and begin scrolling through potential properties that homeowners have uploaded. Rent is either free or massively reduced, with rooms in central London going for as low as £300-400 per month against an average of £989.

For those tenants caught between a rent rise or homelessness, and homeowners facing a rise in mortgage repayments, Kindroom is mutually beneficial. The latter can access a pool of skilled individuals who can help with a variety of tasks, from childcare and tutoring to home repairs and gardening.

Students could also find solace in the startup. Research has shown that accommodation costs now take up almost all the average maintenance loan received by uni students in England. Kindroom provides an alternative to this rent rat-race for young people.

The company's focus on skills and community is a refreshing change from the often impersonal nature of the rental market. By putting people at the heart of the equation, Kindroom is creating a more humane way to rent.

Founded from a belief that everyone deserves access to affordable housing, Kindroom’s mission statement will be welcomed by many. The broken rental market goes beyond the UK, and the startup sees itself serving millions of users across the world in five years’ time.

Kindrooom is challenging the traditional notion of rent as a purely financial transaction, opening up new possibilities for how people can live and work. Now, we’ve given it a room of its own, sitting comfortably as one of our top 100 startups for 2024.

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