Join 1363 founders getting motivational stories of how other founders started and grew their online businesses

OneRoof: the App That Builds Communities


Since the days of old, people have been building communities and actively participating in their growth and development. The essential human needs made three young people think and come up with an idea of how to make all of us feel like living under one roof.

OneRoof is a Brooklyn-based application that enables people to meet their neighbors, share items and ideas, or just hang out. The mission of this enterprise is to make people’s stay in big cities comfortable, and this can only happen if there are friendly neighbors who share our values and goals.

That’s why Selin Sonmez, Cem Ozer, and Nikolaos Georgantas introduced the OneRoof chat app which is all about making people feel loved and respected, living under one roof!

If you want to know some more about what OneRoof is all about, continue reading the inspiring story of the three young people who made their dreams come true.

How a Community is Built

OneRoof is a pretty new company, founded in 2020 by Selin Sonmez, Cem Ozer, and Nikolaos Georgantas. As expected, their backgrounds made them even more sensitive and aware of the meaning of what community life is and how communities can encourage and stimulate individuals to try their best.

All three of them come from different working environments but are united by the idea of one universal environment for all big cities’ residents. Selin has been studying BID Industrial Product and Design and Entrepreneurial Studies at the Pratt Institute, where she got her bachelor’s degree in 2016. Nikolaos was her colleague at the Pratt Institute, where he also got the Industrial Product and Design Bachelors’ degree. On the other hand, Cem is coming with rather different interests. Since a young age, he has dived into computer science. In 2018, he got his Computer Science Bachelors’ degree at Northwestern University.

They all started their careers humbly but determined to be a voice of change in their communities. In 2016, Selin started working as a Product Designer at Red Antler. Cem was an intern developing the web application called AddressOCR before becoming an undergraduate teaching assistant at Northwestern University. And by this time, Nikolaos already left behind the internship at 10xBeta and along with Selin became a co-founder of Knock-Knock City.

What’s more interesting is that they were all working on products somehow linked to people’s welfare. That’s how they recognized in one another the desire and will for a brighter future and stronger community, and joined their efforts in building it.

The Birth of the OneRoof Community

By now, these young enthusiasts were engaged in working for different companies and on rather different projects. Cem was working as an Etherium Protocol Engineer in the R&B Team at the PegaSys Protocol Engineering.

On the other side, Selin and Nikolaos founded Knock-Knock City, but they were constantly examining other options and opportunities. Ambitious and curious, they were continually trying their luck with different products and services. That’s how both of them became managers at LuggageHero. Nikolaos was Partner Manager for North America and Canada, while Selin was at the position of Country Manager for the US and Canada.

Beginning in 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic has engulfed almost the entire planet. There were many restrictions on using public areas, services, travel restrictions, and much more. People were starting to feel scared and rather lonely. Many of them became socially isolated which resulted in various types of psychological problems and behavioral issues. The Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees. The cases of infection were surging and people felt devastated.

By 2020, the Covid-19 Pandemic took more than 3.000.000 lives and nothing seemed like before. Businesses were also in a bad position. For example, in the US almost 40% of the businesses were temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

Many US citizens found themselves jobless and some of them even ended up on the streets without a roof above their heads. People were now struggling to make ends meet while battling a deadly disease that took the lives of their close ones. This was another reason why Selin, Cem, and Nikolaos were even more determined to introduce the OneRoof app and give people the strength to get over this horrible pandemic. “The lockdown was two-sided. Neighbors were isolated, and landlords lost tenants who were leaving the city”, Selin once said and added, “OneRoof is a Covid child”.

This was a decisive moment for all of them. In such severe and challenging conditions, these three guys combined their experience, insight, and education, and founded the OneRoof chat app in 2020. This app is envisioned as a solution that enables residents of the same building or neighborhood to connect themselves and become more engaged in building stronger and healthier communities.

So Far So Good

OneRoof has 25% week-over-week growth. Word-of-mouth seems to be the key accelerator of this upward trend. People are starting to recognize the worth of this application and how it simplifies their lives.

In her recent interview with the freelance journalist Nigel Roberts, Selin was more than happy to say that more than 500 Brooklyn tenants have already signed up and downloaded the application. She said that three of the top discussions between the neighbors were: petting, small favors, and recommendations or suggestions. Users were enthusiastic in sharing between themselves the best walking routes, dog and cat food, lending of cooking or cleaning items, recommending parking lots, suggesting places to eat, sleep, etc. Selin is reassuring us that in the near future, we’ll all feel the warmth of OneRoof over our heads.

OneRoof Funding Program

The founders were serious in their efforts to build an app that will be free and accessible for everyone. OneRoof is a free-of-charge, downloadable app that is available in both iOS and Android additions.

However, the young entrepreneurs had to provide funds for launching the application. The method which they used is common for many startups across the USA and the world. It’s called pre-seed funding. In the case of OneRoof, the entrepreneurs themselves were not the initial investors. They raised an undisclosed amount of funds in one round held on January 28th, 2021. Their only investor was UrbanX, a company running an acceleration program with more than 50 startups in its portfolio. This way, OneRoof also got expertise in customer and product development, network-building, and all other necessary aspects before launching the app.

A Community from the Future

OneRoof is a community built upon common interests and values and that’s why we believe it’s something that will last and shape our future. The app has an onboarding process that identifies neighbors’ interests and places them together in different groups. That’s how everybody is able to connect with a person similar to them and make strong bonds of mutual interests and responsibilities for the times to come.

On the other side, the co-founders, Selin, Cem, and Nicolaos are constantly working to make this app available in many other cities across the US. Buildings will have their own code and neighbors will be able to launch their chats immediately.

Another dimension of this story is that landlords are also joining OneRoof and starting their own promotional activities. Selin is presenting before them the benefits of reducing their costs and the high probability of tenants renewing their lease if there are familiar with even a few neighbors within the building.

Today, OneRoof is located in New York, offering employment to seven people. Although small in size, OneRoof is big in its community, growing by the day. Selin is the current CEO and co-founder, Nikolaos is the CPO and co-founder, while Cem’s career path continued in another direction.

Before attracting many users, OneRoof had to make sure it’s an app like no other on the market. And so it was. There weren’t many apps that offered what OneRoof was offering, luckily for the company.

In the end, most of us witness the way OneRoof is quickly becoming a business and a housing solution for many new yorkers. With the enthusiasm of its founders and the need for fellowship between people, we believe that OneRoof is here to stay and soon it will be above all our heads!