Member Profile: The Power of Search Keeps iLS Network WinningMarch 12th, 2016 by gainesvillechamber
So you’re looking for an apartment that’s pet friendly, has tiled floors and comes with a parking garage. You need the advanced technology of iLS Network.
“It’s the power of our search that sets us apart,” said Pete Zimek, founder and CEO of iLS Network.
A two-time University of Florida graduate, Pete began his career in publishing doing advertising sales for Insight Magazine. Through working with apartment communities on their print advertising, Pete had the industry-specific marketing skills to create a new platform to meet the demands of the underserved Gainesville apartment market. All he needed was the web development knowledge, which he soon found from a pretty sweet source.
“One of my clients was the Ben & Jerry’s franchise in town,” Pete said.
“At the time, Geoff Wilson was looking for a new partner to come in. My wife and I teamed up with him and together we ran two ice-cream stores for five years.”
In 2010, Pete and Geoff, founder of 352 Inc., sold their University Ave. location to Mochi, giving them the seed funding to create SwampRentals.com. On Feb. 15 of that year, the website launched and was profitable from day one.
“The secret sauce really came from our collaboration with apartment managers,” Pete said.
iLS Network websites give potential renters over 200 search options to help them find the best apartment community.
Through SwampRentals.com, renters have a premium platform to find their perfect Gainesville apartment that matches both their budget and lifestyle. With the rapid growth and success in Gainesville, Pete and Geoff soon tapped into other Florida markets. iLS Network now spans six major metropolitan areas – Gainesville, Orlando (407apartments.com), Jacksonville (RentJAX.com), Tallahassee (RentTally.com), Tampa Bay (RentTampaBay.com) and Melbourne-Daytona Beach (SunStateApartments.com). Each market is branded differently to localize the content to potential renters and each website connects to its local industry through active participation in different apartment associations.
The company was recently recognized as one of the 100 fastest-growing, Gator-owned businesses in the world as a 2016 Gator100 recipient.
“Today we serve over a half-million renters as they find their perfect apartment,” Pete said.
“It’s just not scalable to touch that many people on a personal level. However, we really believe we have a powerful, interactive technology that puts the power in the renter’s hands.”
Pete oversees a seven-member team who each work remotely in different cities across Florida.
“We started working remotely before it was cool. It really allows for a higher quality of life.”
Pete said the company is focused on continuing its support of the operations teams that help grow each of the six markets and also the development of new software.
For more information on the company and its technology, visit iLSNetwork.com.