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Yan HeimI was so encouraged with the recent seed investment by the top VC firms in Zumper, a new apartment rental marketplace. What do Zumper and Froomz have in common? We are facing the same chicken vs. egg challenge that any new marketplace has, and we both believe in the mission of building a sustainable business from ground up.

“This will take years, not months, but we’re committed to making this work,” said Anthemos Georgiades, CEO of Zumper. Along with building a business from ground up come the challenges of velocity  and scalability , which are on every investor’s mind.

I firmly believe venue participation is key in building a viable marketplace that enables real time booking and have refused to take shortcut by automatically scraping facilities just to inflate our size.  Our philosophy is to build trusted relationships with both venues and their customers.

A well known VC recently asked me, “What’s Froomz’s winning edge given that several funded startups are doing this?” Money can buy advertisement, can generate hype, but money cannot buy trust. Social commerce, collaborative consumption, and marketplaces at their core are about trust. Do I trust Appelblom Jewelry enough that I’d book a bridal shower on Froomz without ever doing a site visit? Do I trust Froomz to handle my credit payment and keep my data secure?

The Friday before the Dreamforce event, an event planner from Salesforce asked us to find a venue for a reception hosted by an EVP close to the Moscone Center on Wednesday during the Dreamforce week.  Most of the downtown San Francisco venues have already been booked solid by this conference with over 90,000 registrants. She trusted us with her last minute booking need for an important event at a critical time and we got it done.

This month we are celebrating the one year anniversary of our open beta with the debut of Froomz 1.0. This is the result of 12 months of painstaking discovery and development, balancing what the venues want and what meeting and event planners need. Some of the new features include the ability to search for venues based on guest count and venue name from the home page, expanded location-based search options that include region and proximity to address, and more options to refine results based on criteria such as venue type, privacy options and configurations.

We are in the process of building even more features around trust and efficiency. We also hope you like the new web design.

Stay tuned!

Yan