Rentberry promises something unique to the real estate rental industry
By tapping into the on-demand property rental marketplace, San Francisco-based startup Rentberry, Inc is one of the latest players to build technology for a faster and fuss-free rental experience.
And whilst transparency and trust may prove to be two of Rentberry’s key differentiators, this end-to-end, automated service is operating successfully alongside its competitors in San Francisco and New York City.
It eliminates the need for paperwork and streamlines the process for landlords and tenants.
Via Rentberry.com, would-be tenants can create a profile and search for their dream property online.
After finding a home that they like they can see what it might cost, the highest offers already made on it and the number of people who’ve already applied for it.
After bidding against others, tenants only have to pay a $25 fee when their bid is accepted and the lease is signed.
For landlords, Rentberry offers a complete rental application and management solution.
Property owners can suggest the price they’d like to rent out their property at, syndicate their listings to partner platforms, chose which tenants they prefer and get paid using a secure ACH service.
No other rental platform provides an online alternative to absolutely each stage of a rental journey.
They can also upload their leases and e-sign them, whilst tenants are screened via credit, criminal and background checks.
This startup is led by the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO, Alex Lubinsky and CPO, Lily Ostapchuk who joined forces after meeting in New York City.
It’s very cool to be surrounded by so many smart and talented people who work in IT and who constantly want to build life changing products and companies
In order to grow their business, the Rentberry Inc, team raised $1.2 million in 2016 and are now busy raising $2.5 milion – with more than half already committed.
Here, Alex tells Nativa World about his entrepreneurial journey and why he thinks his product could eventually dominate the long-term rental space….
Alex, what does the word ‘Achieve’ mean to you?
It means when we’ve helped millions of people enjoy an efficient and seamless rental experience. It means when hundreds of people contact us and tell us how much they love the product that we’ve created.
What’s your entrepreneurial background?
Together with my partners, I’ve successfully developed and built a networking app CityHour which helped business professionals find each other and set up face-to-face meetings thanks to a mutual calendar availability. CityHour was ranked as one of the best apps for business networking. Building a project from the ground up was a priceless experience that helped us launch Rentberry seamlessly. We sold technology behind CityHour back in 2015.
What inspired you to create Rentberry?
We were looking for a place in San Francisco and it took us one month to find and rent a place. It took us so long NOT because there were no places to rent but because the rental experience was terrible and not transparent.
First of all you need to call landlord (he/she needs to pick up – otherwise you have no idea if the place is still available), waste time meeting to fill out a paper application, wait for the feedback (provided over phone – so you need to always be able to pick it up) and submit paper credit scores. Then you need to compete in bidding wars without understanding the competition, submit paper checks that need to be cashed manually in the bank and it goes on and on.
We decided to make the rental process transparent and straightforward to both parties. We spoke to hundreds of landlords and tenants across the US with this in mind and developed the platform that fits their needs.
It resolves the greatest bottleneck to the transparency of the rental world by allowing tenants to make custom offers.
What problem does Rentberry solve?
Rentberry is a long-term rental platform designed to improve the rental experience for everyone involved. It eliminates the need for paperwork and streamlines the process for landlords and tenants. Most importantly, it resolves the greatest bottleneck to the transparency of the rental world by allowing tenants to make custom offers for properties that they like.
In the US at the moment there are two types of rental service options – property management software or rental platforms.
The first type is only suitable for property managers and landlords and are tenant unfriendly. They only offer a set of features usable by the landlord and are expensive. The second type are focused on property listings and ‘search’. Essentially they only offer the ability to perform property searches with very little functionality.
Rentberry is first and only ‘closed-loop’ rental platform where a full service is provided from start to finish.
No other platform ensures that properties are rented at their true market price.
What’s unique about your product?
Transparency, custom offers submission technology and a closed-loop rental experience. No other rental platform provides an online alternative to absolutely each stage of a rental journey for both parties. Moreover, no other platform ensures that properties are rented at their true market price, transparently and with ability to perform negotiations online.
What are your long and short term goals for your business?
In the short term we want to have 0.5 million properties on the platform by end of 2017. We’re also developing and working on machine learning technology that would be integrated into an intuitive search tool which can predict users’ preferences and suggest the best property options based on their behavior, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
In the long-term (5 years) we want to become the dominant player in the long-term rental space. Moreover, we want to expand to Australia, Canada and Europe. During the next 30 days we plan to have user growth around 95-97%.
What traction have you had?
Since launch, we’ve achieved 40% of monthly growth and have more than 100,000 properties on our platform.
We will add additional services that would benefit tenants and landlords, such as rental insurance products.
Did you pivot since you began working on your idea?
Initially we wanted to help tenants and landlords manage security deposits. Essentially we wanted to offer insurance products to tenants in place of security deposits for a fee. For example, someone would not need to pay $3000 security deposit but $35 per month for the duration of rental. As we were developing we decided to pivot towards transparency and then in the future add “security deposit” products.
In the future we will add additional services that would benefit tenants and landlords, such as rental insurance products.
What apps do you use for work?
We use Slack.
What do you enjoy about working out of SF?
We lived in San Francisco and therefore decided to open a company there. We got lucky because San Francisco and Silicon Valley are the center of the tech boom. Therefore it’s very cool to be surrounded by so many smart and talented people who work in IT and who constantly want to build life changing products and companies.
Photography courtesy of Alex Lubinsky & Rentberry, Inc