The tech world has had its eye on the mysterious, rich Urban Compass for months now. As a start-up with no explicit purpose, it first garnered intrigue through an ability to raise a total of $8 million in seed money from powerful outfits like Goldman Sachs and Thrive Capital, and comes from an impressive pedigree including co-founders Ori Allon, whose earlier companies were acquired by Google and Twitter, and former Goldman COO/White House fellow/marathon enthusiast/possible superhero Robert Reffkin. But both men, along with the reveal of their new mission today, were eclipsed by the Michael Bloomberg Show.
At a secretive launch event presented by the mayor at its headquarters, Urban Compass came out as a would-be real-estate savior. Reffkin and Allon outlined their hope of de-horrifying the experience of apartment hunting in New York by bringing the entire process online. In their model, you can create a personalized itinerary of apartment viewings and then meet with a “neighborhood specialist” to go see the places, before going back online to submit applications and avoid broker fees (though Reffkin stated there will be a “service fee”).
But after an explanation of Urban Compass’s platform, the presentation turned to the mayor, who touted the city as a hub for the tech industry before taking “off topic” questions and going full Bloomberg. He hit all the major topics, defending stop-and-frisk and swiping at the mayoral candidates, quipping, “You only hope they’re smarter than they say.” Slightly on topic, he also reminisced about haggling a friend down from $140 to $120 a month to rent his first apartment. But in the most Bloomberg moment, he called a planned 25-pound, 35,800-calorie cupcake at the opening of House of Cupcakes, dubbed the Mayor and bearing his likeness, “one of the dumbest things people have done.”
After about twenty minutes, the mayor grew tired of calling out haters and talking gun control, making his final point that this year 19,000 Americans will commit suicide with handguns before awkwardly segueing back to Urban Compass with a tactful “Anyways … good day for New York.”