Anyone who has shared a flat knows how complicated bills can get. One roommate ends up buying all of the loo roll, the other gets landed with the gas bill. The costs add up and either become a statistical nightmare or get lost in the wastepaper basket.
Nicholas Katz is 32 and he’s lived in nine different house shares in cities across the world. A few years ago he fell out with a close friend he was living with, over an argument about their house bills spreadsheet.
“Theres not really a software that helps these young people that have all of these trouble managing shared expenditure,” said Katz. “We want to harmonise the way people live together and make the experience of living in property with other people as good as it possibly can be.”
Splittable is the brainchild app of Katz and his co-founder Vasanth Subramanian that lets roommates log and split the bills. It launched in April 2015 and already has tens of thousands of users, a number which is growing between 25 and 30 per cent month on month.
“We just want to kill the spreadsheet”
It’s a pretty simple concept. Roommates join the app together and each time they make a house purchase – like bin bags, the electricity bill or pizza – they add it to the app, telling it who the cost should be split between. The app sends an alert to all of the roommates about the purchase and adds the money to Splittable’s debt calculator – called the “All Square Meter”
The spreadsheet and post-it notes are, in reality, our biggest competitors” said Katz. “We just want to kill the spreadsheet.”
The company has raised £950,000 in investment, and was awarded a £5,000 grant from Nesta. Its investors include Boris Johnson’s London Co-Investment Fund and Lord David Young, former advisor to David Cameron.
Splittables iOS app has been featured on the Apple Store in the UK and US. It is also available on Android and online, and has so far launched in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The majority of its users are UK-based at the moment.
“Dare I say it, it almost makes dealing with household admin a little bit more fun,” he said. Katz wants Splittable to become the port of call for those in the early stages of their property journey. The company is already working with Spare Room and Generation Rent – two companies that represent younger renters.
All your household bills, all your flatmates, one app
As it grows, Katz wants to link up with landlords, more flat sharing websites, banks, and energy suppliers. “We’re looking to form partnerships with people that deal with housemates and renters,” he said. “In particular, with companies that work with 20 to 35-year- olds who are renting together,” he says.
Katz and his team, which includes nine permanent staff and five consultants, are now working on building in-app payments, to launch this summer.
“We’re building a payments platform where you’ll be able to pay each other back directly throughthe app,” said Katz. “Over time we’re going to be letting them pay for all of the costs and services related to the home.”
The payments system will be similar to Venmo, an app that makes it easy to send money to your friends. “We love what Venmo’s doing, hopefully one day we can work with them in the US” said Katz. Unlike Venmo, the Splittable payment service will be optimised for household bills.
Splittable is poised to take off as more and more young people opt to lease rather than own their homes. Only this week research showed that London will be a city of renters by 2025, with just 40 per cent of residents owning their own home.