Cozy, the online tool for both landlords and tenants, are announcing that Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield has joined its board of directors.  Butterfield has actually known Cozy co-founder and CEO Gino Zahnd from when they worked together at Flickr.

With that background relationship and having knowledge of Butterfield’s family background in the real estate business (his father worked in development, his mother was an agent), Zahnd started asking for feedback. Eventually, he invited Butterfield to join the board.


The two of them recorded a video talking about the news in which Butterfield explains why he’s excited about the company, below is a transcript excerpt:

I think there’s a huge opportunity here. I mean, there’s no one really working on the rental experience for the small landlords — there’s the big corporate stuff, but the vast majority of people who are renting a home, a place where they live, are renting from someone who just has a very small number of properties. … It’s also one of those spaces where the big wave of fantastic software that we’ve been seeing over the last 10 years or so hasn’t really touched yet.

Cozy – Adnan in Portland, OR. from Cozy on Vimeo.

The goal of Cozy is to take the antiquated and inefficient aspect of the rental process and move them into the 21st century online. The company’s services include the ability for landlords to collect rent online, to manage payments from multiple roommates and also screen tenants.  Cozy makes its money by charging landlords a $9 monthly fee (following a 60 day free trial).

Cozy Recruits Flickr Co Founder

Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield

Butterfield said Cozy is the only board he’s serving on now. Apparently he likes being on boards because it allows him to see “the other side” and not just the founder’s perspective.  Interestingly he is currently founder and CEO at Tiny Speck.  When he was asked about Cozy’s biggest challenge moving forward, Butterfield said it’s “pretty boring”, namely, distribution. “Landlords”, he noted, don’t really form a “natural community,” so Cozy will have to do a lot of work to make them aware of the product.

The company had previously  announced that it is being used by more than 6,000 landlords and renters in more than 500 cities in the US.  “That’s a surmountable challenge,” Butterfield said. “It’s just regular marketing.”

[Image via tutorial51]