During the most recent Montreal International Startup Festival, Videotron Business Solutions and MaTV held a contest to reward an especially promising local startup. The winner was awarded a total of $30,000, in order to help the company’s development and recognition.
How can you pick the right neighborhood for your lifestyle when you move to a new city you don’t know much about? That is the question every one of the four Navut co-founders asked themselves at some point: three come from Brazil, and one is originally from the Philippines. Since they all lived in different cities before making Montreal their home, they all had to face issues that are only too common for newcomers: too high rent, area that is not a good fit, etc. This is where the idea behind Navut came from: a website that could help people settle into their new town well, help them better live this transition, whether they are single, coupled up, or a family unit.
In order to suggest a place to live, the site presents an algorithm combining numerous criteria: price, transportation means, closeness to downtown or workplace, services for young families, security, income, housing type, etc. After asking many “lifestyle” questions (budget, education level, belonging to an ethnic community), the site then presents your “5 best neighborhoods”. Clicking on these areas (or towns, when it comes to suburbs) leads to a wealth of information: percentage of ownership, recent population movements, state of properties, as well as demographic data. The latter is especially relevant, since it even tells you the kind of neighbors you might find in this area (say, families with small children), as well as the kind you will have to look for elsewhere (say, young singles).
If you choose a neighborhood to live, the site then directly puts you in contact with people with apartments to rent and realtors, who will be able to help you find a home. That is the Navut business model: the service is free for individuals, while the site charges between $5 and $10 for each reference made, through agreements with realtors and agents. The company additionally plans to offer newcomers other services in their new area, such as service providers, restaurants and other businesses…
Navut currently offers its services in 7 Canadian cities: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. American cities should soon be added to the list. 80% of the current traffic comes from people moving across Canadian cities (such as Montrealers and Torontonians moving out West), while the remaining 20% comes from overseas (immigrants and expats).