Seattle’s rising rent prices lead to a lot of housing turnover — which leads to a lot of extra work for landlords. That’s fine for property management companies with the resources to focus on their rentals full-time. But for mom-and-pop landlords, the hot housing market can be daunting.
Renticity wants to take some of the hassle out that process for smaller-scale landlords. The Seattle startup recently launched an online platform homeowners can use to list, screen, and lease their properties.
“Yes, the same landlord you’re probably thinking of who requires paper checks and thinks Tinder is an app for finding firewood is now able to move like a millennial when it comes to their rental process,” said Mateo Moore, Renticity brand manager. “Renticity is a simple, intuitive website for landlords to list their rental, accept rental applications, review background checks, and as of Feb. 1, have a lease e-signed from a phone, tablet or computer.”
We caught up with Moore for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Renticity makes it easy for anyone to become a landlord. Accept rental applications, conduct background checks on renters, and get a lease signed, all from one place.”
Inspiration hit us when: “It all started back in 2011, when our founder, Jon Rinker, placed the family getaway on the rental market to help offset the cost of putting his kids through college. It was hard. He was stressed. He remembers saying, ‘there must be an easier way for someone like me to do this’ and hasn’t looked back since.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Like many startups, Renticity’s initial funding was bootstrapped by a core group of friends and family. As the platform developed and matured, a wider circle of individual investors with real estate backgrounds became investors. As the company and product evolve so will our financing. We’re currently exploring VC options in 2016.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We’re a one-stop-shop services company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional property management firm or some guy named Gus who lives in Wallingford with a room to rent. Our users can navigate the entire leasing process from one online resource.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Building a great team and giving them meaningful roles dictating the direction of this company. Everyone is all-in and it shows. Well, that and not calling the company YOLO (Your Online Leasing Office).”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Spending too much time early on over-developing, over-analyzing, perfecting, and never releasing. We learned so much once we went live with the product and started interacting with customers. From that point on we were able to collect feedback and make decisions that mattered to our customers. We tend to call the first two years of this company as ‘the dark ages.’ It was a dark time, with not enough execution, despite efforts.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “We’ve never heard of these people. Joking — in all seriousness it would be an honor to be associated with any of the three, but if we were forced to choose we’d probably go with Bezos. We try to make things as easy as possible for our end user and Amazon’s approach to its core business aligns with that brand of thinking.”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “We’re situated right on Lake Union so we’re out on the water as much as possible. But as far as actual team-building we don’t have any structured activities — we just genuinely listen to each other and know how hard everyone around us is pushing to make this company work. That’s team building in our eyes. Staying until 9 p.m. on a Friday talking about user flows and marketing automation because you’re excited about it is team-building in itself.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Renticity is a culture of collaboration, iteration, and execution. We are looking for people that stand out as problem solvers, people that get things done — plain and simple. That all said, the biggest thing we look for when hiring is pure talent and character. What is that unique thing you bring to the mix to light a spark and deliver results at a really high level?”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Look for and be accepting of criticism and turn that into productivity. Be annoying. Be persistent. Stay up late and wake up semi-early. Oh, and make sure you have enough money for health insurance. Maybe drive Uber a few nights a week or pick up a shift at a bar.”