With features in the Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today College, and The New York Times, Roompact is taking higher education by storm and changing the way college students across the country communicate with their roommates.
Roompact predicts, prevents, and reduces roommate conflict in college and university Residence Halls. Roompact works with industry leaders to analyze data about roommates and help university staff take action. They help eliminate paper waste, save staff time and effort, and improve retention.
Matt Unger, founder and president of Roompact, took some time to tell us about his company, the importance of tenacity, Redbull, and being part of the Catapult community.
Tell us a little bit about where Roompact is right now? What has your team been working on recently?
Right now, Roompact's first priority is to serve our current customers. We're used on campuses all across the country, so our focus is on making sure we can do whatever possible to make their jobs easier. Our secondary focus is on expanding Roompact to other campuses. We've recently been working on continuously upgrading our core product. Our customers (and potential customers) always give us really valuable feedback on our product, so we release improvements very frequently.
How has your idea evolved since its inception?
When Roompact was just an idea of a company, it was going to be a system solely to enable people to have online roommate agreements. After almost 2 years of great feedback, it's grown into a much bigger and powerful platform that we call a "Conflict Management System".
Who is your ideal customer? What is your target market?
Roompact is great for any college, university, or private company that houses students.
Where do you see your company in the next 2-3 years?
In 2-3 years, I see Roompact being on many more campuses. At that point, we'll also have very robust data on conflict that we'll be able to use to help our customers.
What do you look for in new employees?
I look for people who have no problem rolling their sleeves up and getting to work while still being able to have fun every once in a while. I'm in Roompact for the long haul, so I'm also looking for people who are in it for the long haul. Being serious about getting good, satisfying work done day-in and day-out is a must. We're in it to make a great, interesting product and to help people every day.
What would you say is the most important skill needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Tenacity. You can't ever give up. You can't take no for an answer. You have to keep bothering some people until they listen to you. Each day you're faced with a new set of 100 forks in the road and you have to keep pushing until you find the 1 road that works. [Matt's tenacity is on display in this Crain's Chicago article "Read this before making your next cold call (or email)."]
What is the best startup/entrepreneurial advice you ever received? What was the worst?
It's hard to pick the best and worst advice I've ever received because as an entrepreneur you receive so much advice. Your job is to filter out the good and the bad.
How would you describe your company culture?
This question is hard to answer. Company culture is a feeling that you can't really put into words. It's an aura in the office. We work really hard and take a step back every once in a while to admire our progress.
Do you ever find it difficult to take a break from your business? How (if at all) do you find work/life balance? What do you do in your free time?
I do not find it difficult to take a break from my business because I don't ever take a break from my business. :) In my free time I like to try to help other entrepreneurs, cook, and try new food.
Do you listen to music while you work? What's on your playlist?
I don't usually listen to music while working, but if I do it will be something without lyrics. Vitamin String Quartet is a favorite on my "work music" playlist. Before pitching or presenting anything, music without lyrics is a must. Something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWrfOdQG0GU
What's your go-to food for working late?
What is most beneficial about sharing a space with multiple entrepreneurs? What is the best part of Catapult?
"Being in the trenches" with so many other people is very comforting. We're all working very hard and we've been through many of the same experiences. It's really great to know that we haven't been the first to encounter a certain barrier and we won't be the last. Catapult enables us to quickly speak to other people with shared experiences.