Students living off-campus have a new venue for finding sublets and subletters.
Hundreds of visitors have visited the student-created PennLets.com since it launched Sunday.
The exclusive-to-Penn website, a new online marketplace for students and subletters, allows users to post pictures and use Google Maps to describe their property listings. Those looking to rent have the option to search for listings by features, gender and availability of other rooms.
“I am so grateful that PennLets is now here for us to use,” Wharton sophomore Eliza Goode wrote in an email. “I received a potential offer within two days of posting.”
College sophomore Cordelia Meserow agreed. “The website is easy to navigate,” she said. Meserow posted a listing on PennLets a few days ago and has gotten a potential subletter as well.
College sophomore Phil Golub, one of four co-founders of the new listing service, thought of the idea last fall semester, but busy schedules prevented him from progressing past the brainstorming phase.
Wharton sophomore Stephanie Weiner, another co-founders, came up with the plan one day when they both were at Starbucks.
Weiner and Golub ultimately took initiative and this idea became a reality. They bought the domain name for PennLets.com on Jan. 11.
Both of them had taken computer science courses but did not have enough coding knowledge to create a website on their own.
So, that same weekend, they spent 30 hours at the PennApps Mobile application development competition, hoping to find a coder.
But when their efforts proved futile, the team recruited Engineering and Wharton sophomore Jason Rudin, who studies digital media design. Rudin designed the logo and has been integral to PennLet’s front end execution, Golub said.
Created by four Penn sophomores who have already gone through the tedious housing process, PennLets understands the struggles Penn students find themselves in when seeking housing after freshman year, the founders explained.
“Penn off-campus housing is a mess … [and] a very unique problem to Penn,” Weiner said.
“I’ve heard in the past about the difficulty of finding a subletter from some of my friends,” College sophomore Charles Rubenfeld wrote in an email. “PennLets has definitely improved the process and allowed buyers and sellers to come together.”
Once a student sets up an account and posts a listing, it will remain on the site for 90 days. Upon expiration, the poster will automatically be notified by email. If the listing has been filled, there are two options: edit the listing or delete it from the site.
For an extra $10 a month, PennLets can also feature a particular listing on the site’s homepage.
The group has yet to begin an official marketing campaign. PennLets.com launched Feb. 5, running solely on word of mouth and Facebook.
The four creators invited their friends to the PennLets Facebook page and posted to the Class of 2014 Facebook group.
“… From that it really took off,” Golub said. “That [PennLets] has done so well so early is indicative that there is a need for this [at Penn.]”
As of early Wednesday morning, PennLets.com logged 785 visitors and 2,412 total visits. “Each visitor is averaging 3.9 pages per visit, so people aren’t just looking at the homepage,” added Engineering sophomore and co-founder Joe Giancristofaro.
In the future, Golub, Weiner, Rudin and Giancristofaro — the four founders — have plans to market, grow and expand PennLets. They especially want to market to graduate and foreign exchange students. “[It’s] important to us that it isn’t isolated to undergrads,” Golub said.Comments powered by Disqus
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