Brandon Paquette is a Harvard Business School graduate and a U.S. Air Force veteran. In the Air Force, Paquette held several positions, including working as a comptroller. It was in the Air Force where he met his future business partner, Nick DePriest.
Paquette also has a passion for technology and is expanding on his knowledge for it. “I have always liked tech from a consumer standpoint,” he says. “I started programming after cross-registering into a course at MIT during business school.”
Teaming up with DePriest and business partner Emily Eder, Paquette is now taking the plunge into the tech world with his first startup company. The inspiration came from the struggles of finding a place to live. “When I was in business school,” Paquette remembers. “’Housing’ was often the first thing people mentioned when trying to think of opportunities to solve problems.”
“I was in a similar situation in May of 2016,” DePriest adds. “Looking for homes in the lower end of the price spectrum in the Los Angeles area, good information felt like it was impossible to come by”
Wayhome, the company Paquette and his team are building, is setting their sights on reinventing the way apartment and house hunters obtain information and learn about homes. “We want people to learn about homes from other people, so they don’t have to rely only on the realtor or landlord,” Paquette says, stating Wayhome’s ultimate goal, “It’s not far off from what Yelp’s done with small businesses, or what TripAdvisor’s done with travel destinations.”
Wayhome assists users to find and save homes across different real estate sites. When a user learns something important about a house or an apartment, Wayhome assembles this information to benefit other users. Important aspects could include new photos, interesting details, or even an impression after an in-person viewing.
The Wayhome team is trying to create a friendly, streamlined environment for anyone looking for a place to live, by taking cues from various social media websites. However, Wayhome itself is not exactly alike social media.
“The details of a user’s home search aren’t going to be broadcast to a wide audience as they are if they were using, say, Pinterest,” Paquette says. “But if the user’s searching with a roommate or partner, or just wants someone close to them to be involved, they can add those folks to their Wayhome and share all the homes they find and what they think of them.”
Wayhome is looking to take a more personal approach to apartment and home searching. Humor and a unique visual style, courtesy of Eder, adorn the company’s website. The team want to show off their personalities, but urge users to do the same as well. “Finding a home is hard enough, so we figured people could use a smile while they searched,” Eder says.
Wayhome officially formed as a company in the summer of 2016. Paquette, DePriest and Eder are fresh faces within the Boston tech scene and actually have no working experience within it. The three are blank slates, but they are eager to make their mark.
“I’m becoming more involved in the local tech scene, which is really easy with all the events there are. I attended a Hackathon at Facebook a few weeks ago, for example,” says Paquette. “There is no shortage of opportunities to get out and meet people.”
“The military teaches you to adapt,” DePriest says. “A lot of what I am learning now is self-taught.”
Paquette and crew are using Boston as a “test city” for Wayhome, based on how the housing market functions in the city, and because of the connection the three share with the Hub.
Wayhome is currently in closed beta tests, but according to the team, the tool will open to users looking for homes in Boston in the near future.
Finding a home or apartment can be stressful. Whether it is moving to a city because of school or just trying to get out of a particular town, sometimes meeting with a realtor isn’t enough. Wayhome is looking out for everyone who finds themselves in over their head.