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Spotlight on: hOM, Digital.NYC’s Startup to Watch for March 2017

Each month as part of Digital.NYC’s Startup to Watch program we connect with the winning company to find out more about them. Here’s what we learned in a recent talk with the founders of hOM.

Digital.NYC: Tell us about your company. What does hOM do?

hOM is a marketing, leasing and retention tool. We crowdsource demand in commercial and multifamily buildings in order to deliver pop-up amenities like fitness classes or unique events in underutilized spaces. We started as a virtual amenity manager, but realized, to scale, we needed to develop a solution for 99% of the real estate inventory that doesn't have the space, bandwidth or capital to build and maintain gyms, pools, lounges etc. Within these properties are underutilized spaces like empty apartment units or unfinished rooftops. We activate those spaces with value-add experiences proposed and up-voted by tenants to create community. This drastically reduces turnover costs for owners at, on average, less than one tenth if the cost of an amenity manager. We are also the first in the amenity space to deliver real-time data to our clients, quantifying the success of their amenities. hOM works with top landlords and managers in the US and Canada such as Brookfield, Bentall Kennedy, Avalon Bay, Rose Associates, Buzzutto, Kushner, First Services and many more. 


Digital.NYC: What is the background story?

hOM was founded by Corey Loftus, Ryan Freed and Francesca Loftus. The value of community and wellness services like yoga and meditation were made apparent to the founders when Ryan’s mother, Hope, was diagnosed with late stage cancer. When Hope passed away, eight years after she was told she only had two years to live, Ryan looked to fundraise for a brick-and-mortar meditation studio that could mainstream the practice. The class style was tested in The Edge in Brooklyn, and the speed at which the class sold out demonstrated a greater demand for in-home services.


Digital.NYC: How did you come up with the idea and why is it called hOM? 

hOM is named for Hope, who was the catalyst for the company, and “OM” a phrase commonly used in yoga. 


Digital.NYC: Who is your target customer?

Commercial, multifamily and hospitality managers and landlords. We work in any space, from buildings with an impressive suite of amenities: entire floors of common space with pools and golf simulators, to a collection of townhouses or 20 unit pre-war walkups.


Digital.NYC: How do you think your company is going to disrupt the market? What are the main differentiators between you and your competitors?

hOM is one tenth of the cost of an amenity manager, is the only physical amenity solution for buildings without the space, bandwidth or capital (think prewar walk-ups, buildings under 100 units) for gyms, pools, lounges etc, and is one of the only companies in the space to employ full-time service providers, ensuring reliability and quality. In 25 months, we have onboarded more clients than the leading amenity manager has in 25 years.  


Digital.NYC: What else might our readers be interested to know about hOM?

hOM is lead by Francesca Loftus, a 25-year-old CEO. Francesca has an impressive work history and is a proponent for women in business. Link to Francesca’s Bio
For every class taught, hOM gives one back to someone on their journey with cancer through Gilda’s Club and Mount Sinai.
hOM is doing for service providers, what Starbucks did for baristas: full time employment, benefits, ownership and continued education. We create a culture of loyalty in an industry where the independent contractor is king. This improves the quality of instructors we can provide to buildings and increases reliability.


Digital.NYC: Why did you chose New York City as your base for the company?

NYC sits on every list for greatest real estate markets, every year. While hOM is a marketing tool and makes most sense for secondary markets where there more open units than potential renters, most national and international landlords have at least one property here. We use their NYC buildings as a pilot for the rest of their portfolio.  If we can make here, we can scale through their portfolio into other cities.

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