OwlSpark | Rice University Startup Accelerator | TeamWise: KickedOC
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TeamWise: KickedOC

Many college students today face housing struggles. They want or need to live off-campus, but housing is very limited and often, schools do not provide adequate resources to find off-campus housing. This process is stressful, time-consuming, and can be difficult. Jonathan Bunt and co-founder Peter Rizzi, created KickedOC, a website that makes rental interactions between property managers and tenants easier, by matching tenants and property managers based on similar criteria. Not only does this service make it easier for tenants to find a house, but also makes it easier for the property managers by reducing the amount of time spent vetting the pool of potential tenants. Although this started as something to help alleviate the stress for his friends at Rice University, he has expanded his target customers to students at other universities across Texas.

This idea came about in Jonathan’s personal struggles in finding housing. Rice University only guarantees students three years of housing on campus. Depending on the residential college, students get “kicked off campus” for their sophomore or junior year. Jonathan and about 20 of his peers were “kicked off campus” for their junior year, and Jonathan took the lead in finding housing for all 20 of them. During this time, he found that the process is long and arduous for both potential tenants as well as the landlords and property managers. Peter and Jonathan felt that there needed to be a better and easier way to match people to houses, so they came up with KickedOC. To date, he has successfully matched more than a dozen tenants with property managers and earned his first revenue.

For Jonathan, the startup world is the world he grew up in and the world he knew. Both his parents were entrepreneurs, so he experienced this firsthand from a young age. He went from living in large houses to small ones and experienced that fast-paced environment. He loved every aspect of those experiences, so it felt natural to follow in his parents’ footsteps. His favorite part about founding a startup is that he doesn’t know what’s coming next and not having a routine. More specifically, Jonathan loves helping people.

One of his favorite experiences at OwlSpark so far has been the introduction to so many amazing people. He loves being surrounded by supportive and motivated people who are working people working towards similar goals. Moving forward, Jonathan is excited to meet new people and continue to develop his idea through more connections.

Outside of building this startup, Jonathan loves to sail (so much so, he has a sailboat tattoo on his back). He has sailed the Sea of Cortez and French Polynesia and hopes to sail the world one day. Additionally, he loves road trips and is taking a road trip to Colorado after OwlSpark this summer. On top of that, he is on track to getting his EMT Basics next year. He loves emergency response—he started an emergency response team in high school and more recently, organized volunteers in his residential college during Harvey.