STARTUP SPOTLIGHT

Austin startup Roomify helps hook up college students with dorm supplies

Posted August 4th, 2017

The idea for Roomify started, of course, with going to college.

Shanil Wazirali and Sagar Hemani were attending different colleges but each had trouble furnishing their dorm rooms. 

“We went through the struggle of making multiple trips to stores and guessing what we needed,” Wazirali said. “We spent hundreds of dollars on items and few of them were useful.”

So when they graduated, Wazirali from Texas A&M University and Hemani from the University of Missouri, they decided to turn their room-furnishing headaches into a business and founded Roomify, which was initially called Dorm it Up.

A year ago, the co-founders moved the company to Austin and has an office at Brazos and Fifth Street. “(Austin) had a lot of great energy and a lot of great talent,” Wazirali said. 

WHAT THEY DO: Roomify ships college students basic dorm or apartment supplies, saving parents and students those hectic trips to stores like Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. 

Their “bundles” range in price from $299 to $179 and typically include items like bed sheets and comforters, a pillow, towels, hangers and under-bed storage units. 

“We give students up to 60 items in a box delivered in up to two days at a fraction of the cost,” Wazirali said, adding that students usually save 30 to 50 percent versus the retail cost. 

Wazirali said they are able to save money because they manufacture their own products overseas. “Everything is branded Roomify,” he said.

If you don’t want to spring for the box, Roomify also sells kitchen bundles that offer basic cooking supplies, as well as bedding-only and storage-only packages. 

WHO THEY ARE: Roomify marks the first time Wazirali and Hemani have started a business. 

The company has seven employees, Wazirali said, and has plans to hire another four to five people this year. 

INVESTMENT: They have raised $1.1 million in a seed round, with investors that include Sam Yagan, the CEO of Match.com, and funds such as Kombo Ventures, Marc Bell Capital and FireStarter.
Wazirali said he expects to make an announcement about their Series A fundraising efforts this month. 

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “It’s just growing pains,” Wazirali said, such as keeping up with demand and hiring talented employees. “We want to make sure we are hiring the right people around us and making sure we are taking the right steps to grow the company.”

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