“It takes a long time to get a family approved for a place. So I created a system that would pull a renter’s background check and screen it against every vacancy in the city at the same time.”
— Tyrone Poole
Tyrone Poole never planned on being an innovator at the intersection of housing and tech. At 23, he was training to be a Portland firefighter when an accident left him permanently debilitated. After months of hospitalization, Poole found himself homeless and eventually in a shelter.
Determined to stabilize his life, Poole volunteered and later worked for the YWCA, matching families affected by homelessness with rental properties. The experience opened his eyes to the barriers homeless families face. Even with housing vouchers and money available, the repetitive, laborious application process means it can take months for a family to get approved for a rental property.
Poole says, “Usually they had to get denied the first time for me to figure out what their barriers were. So I created a system that would pull a renter’s background check and screen it against every vacancy in the city at the same time.” Poole was able to give applicants a list of places for which they qualified, giving families access to homes within days. The system he created was the beginning of Noappfee.com.
Local and national recognition has followed. Poole won a spot in the 2015 Portland Development Commission Startup PDX Challenge and received funds to launch the company. In June 2016 he competed in the 1776 Challenge Cup, a worldwide tournament for the most promising, world-changing startups to win cash prizes and share their vision on a global stage. NoAppFee was one of eight finalists and the winner of the People’s Choice award. He’s talking to housing programs nationwide about using the innovative NoAppFee platform and says, “The whole inspiration came from me solving a problem that I was a part of.”