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Roommate problems? There's an app for that

From left, graduate student João Ritter sits with Roof founders Tomas Roy, junior, and Teddy Wilson, a UNC senior. Courtesy of João Ritter.  

From left, graduate student João Ritter sits with Roof founders Tomas Roy, junior, and Teddy Wilson, a UNC senior. Courtesy of João Ritter.  

The app, which launched in June, is set up to be a reminder system for whoever is “under your roof.” It sends out notifications when rent is due or a chore needs to be done.

“I was always the one in my house that had to tell people to do what they were supposed to do and I would rather some third party, like what Roof is, take care of that,” co-founder and UNC senior Teddy Wilson said.

UNC graduate João Ritter, Roof co-founder and CEO, said his inspiration for the app came from realizing that almost every college household shared the same, simple disputes. Most of the issues revolved around chores and paying rent, he said. Ritter set out to create something that would fix these frustrations.

Junior Hannah Hudson said she would have to tell her housemates about the app.

“Roof eliminates the burden of making everyone’s rent payments one person’s responsibility and evenly distributes the task to everyone in the house,” Hudson said.

Once registered, any roommate can set up a to-do list. As a task is finished, such as taking out the trash, the user clicks on the item to notify their other roommates that it’s been completed.

“I really love the push notifications that the app sends out to people, so that roommates don’t have to remind each other to do dumb things around the house,” Ritter said.

Ritter, Wilson and third co-founder Tomas Roy, a UNC junior, are beginning their main marketing push for the app this week.

They plan to spread the app by working with students on campus and giving out $200 worth of gift cards to some of the people who register on the app.

“We’ve done a little bit of brand marketing on the national level,” Roy said. “We actually have one user that messages us every week and gives us feedback.”

Ritter said they are currently focusing on gathering feedback from consumers.

“I love getting feedback, either negative or positive,” he said. “We work incredibly hard to show we’re building what people want to use and not what we think is really cool. So at the end of the day, hopefully, we’re going to have reached a point where the app is really solving the problem for people.”

The next step for the Roof founders is developing another app that collaborates with landlords to make the rent payment process for tenants easier.

“Fundamentally, Roof is designed to make living with roommates easier in the ways that an app can,” Roy said. “There’s always going to be disagreements about cleanliness, but when it comes down to giving up work to make the house cleaner or splitting expenses, we set out to make a utility that could fix all the little, tangible things.”


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