Rental discrimination lead two women to launch Ryna, a real-estate startup that matches tenants with trustworthy landlords

2.2 min readPublished On: October 26, 2021
Sherrill Song struggled to find an apartment when she first moved to Toronto a couple of years ago. Not just because of availability, but because of safety.

Whenever she rented an apartment she found online on Craigslist and similar sites, the landlords she was dealing with grossly misbehaved.

She started to feel unsafe and isolated as a young, single, female immigrant who encountered situations with landlords that made racist remarks, kept asking her out on dates, or sexually harassed her.

Although rental discrimination is illegal in Canada, it often doesn’t get reported, because it’s difficult to prove.

When Sherril met KD Dao, who had stopped looking for places because of similar experiences, they came up with the idea for their startup “Rayna”.

“Ryna is a co-living and apartment rental platform that leverages technology to make renting easier and safer for people who identify as women, while giving them the proper tools to pave their own path and build a life they love.”

Ryna matches women like Sherril and KD so that they can rent apartments together from pre-vetted real estate companies. Landlords that might have found it difficult to find good tenants in the past, benefit from this concept equally, as they’re matched with these women that are looking for trustworthy landlords.

Additionally, Ryna reduces friction and saves young female professionals time in the search for a place, and allows them to rent cheaper than as individuals.

Ryna tenants benefit from the following perks:

  • Tenant Support: Ryna advocates and supports tenants through all the difficulties of renting
  • Furnished Communal Spaces: Every place is fully furnished
  • Home Necessity: Basic items like cleaning supplies are included at certain properties
  • Socials: Raya wants their tenants to connect and organizes yoga or cooking classes, finance and career tips for its community.
  • Reliable Landlords: Raya only works with reputable companies
  • Roommate Compatibility: Having the right roommates is a game-changer. Raya matched tenants up with the right home and housemates.

Ryna is still young, but the Toronto-based company already has 7 employees, more than 500 people on its waiting list,and receives 30 new applications from women between 20-40 years every day. After an expansion into the Montreal and Ottawa real estate market, they’re planning to expand internationally.

Ryna also keeps growing its network of real estate partners which benefit from the consistent portfolio of reliable tenants and an average occupancy rate of 97%.