Enter your search terms then press the return/enter key to submit your query. When they were in college, John Puma said he and his friends experienced similar challenges when searching for off-campus apartments.

“There’s an extreme lack of transparency,” said Puma, who graduated from Northeastern in 2017 with a business degree. “Between poor-quality photos and inaccurate listing info, there’s often a disconnect between the online experience and what you see in person.” To solve this problem, Puma co-founded Wizio, a startup that provides virtual reality tours of rental properties using high-definition 360-degree photography.

These VR tours, Puma said, allow renters to view an apartment as though they were standing there, and can save time in finding the right property—particularly if they’re from out of town and can’t visit the unit before signing on the dotted line. Cameron Billings, left, and John Puma co-founded Wizio, a startup that provides virtual reality tours of rental properties in Boston and Houston.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University Wizio primarily works with property managers and brokers in the Boston area but has recently expanded into the Houston market. The startup lists properties with virtual tours on social media and charges its clients a fee when it creates a virtual tour, which typically takes 24 hours. Wizio is now developing what it calls a “virtual agent service,” which will automate the process of filling out an application form, getting your credit checked, and submitting payments.

Wizio has created nearly 5,000 virtual tours since launching in 2015. One of its first clients was Encore Realty, which was co-founded by Brian Kitchens, who graduated from Northeastern in 2007 with a business degree. Read more from news.northeastern.edu…

thumbnail courtesy of northeastern.edu