Contactless rental housing: Ukrainian startup conquers the American market
Another Ukrainian startup entered the world market. Its owner shares the secret of where to look and how to work with American investors, says "Voice of America".
In times of a pandemic, contactless service delivery methods are becoming increasingly popular.
Despite the economic problems, the user base of the mobile application is growing, which allows you to rent or lease housing without a personal meeting, questionnaires and signatures. This application was created and promoted by Ukrainians. The main office of the company is located in California, the software is made in Ukraine. Where better to look and how to work with investors, the owner of the company said.
It is difficult to imagine such a scenario in Ukraine to offer a higher price for renting an apartment than the owner calls it. However, in large American cities, where demand often exceeds supply, this is sometimes almost the only way to find decent housing. Ukrainian startup Rentberry offers to facilitate this process. Even with the pandemic, they continue to grow their customer base.
The history of the Ukrainian-American company Rentberry illustrates well the classic startup theory: face a problem, analyze and find a solution. In 2015, a resident of Kiev, Aleksey Lyubinsky, along with business partners, came to San Francisco with another startup. For almost a month they could not find a place to rent because of the great competition among tenants.
“There are many people who are applying for this housing,” says Alexey, CEO of Rentberry. - And you also do not know who and how much money will want to offer the owner. Someone can give $ 100-200 more. Therefore, we decided to create a service that automates all this ”.
The platform also allows apartment owners to fairly assess the value of their property, both upwards and vice versa. Very often the price can be overpriced and the apartment is idle. Most of these empty apartments are in Miami, Orlando and Las Vegas. Other advantages of the company are that they assist in the negotiation process between the owner and the property seeker. They also help with the execution and storage of documents on the blockchain platform.
“You pay rent every month, all your documents are in the cloud,” says Alexey. “If something went wrong, you can also fix it through the platform.”
Unlike Airbnb, which suffered during the pandemic, Rentberry focuses on long-term rental housing. Now the company operates in more than 20 thousand cities in 50 countries of the world, and the number of users is growing even despite the pandemic.
“A year ago we had about 30-40 thousand active users,” says Alexey. - Lately there are more than 320 of them. And by the end of the year we will have half a million every month. In times of crisis, many people continue to rent rather than buy housing. People want automation, they want less contact or even contactless rental housing. "
You can search for housing on the platform for free. The company itself makes money in several ways. Landlords with more than 3 properties are charged a commission. There is also an option for paid advertisements. And for a small fee, you can draw up documents through the site. Specifically, in the United States, all renters have criminal and credit checks, lease application fees, and special insurance. In addition, Rentberry sells user data to advertisers.
“We keep track of when the tenant arrived at the apartment, we know how long he signed a contract, when he will leave,” explains Alexey. - And by the time he leaves, we know whether he is looking for housing in another place or will renew here. If he looks elsewhere, we can sell this information to companies organizing the move ”.
Lyubinsky's team numbers over 30 people. The front office is in California, the software developers are in Ukraine. For 5 years on the market, the company has collected a total of more than $ 13 million in investments. Entrepreneurs who also dream of their own start-up, Lyubinsky advises to look not for venture funds, but for private investors.
“As it turned out from our practice, there are a lot of rich people who do not belong to foundations and are not their partners, who simply love their business, they live somewhere in Idaho or Colorado and are happy to give money to entrepreneurs who“ knock on them ” ”, - says Alexey. - In America, a lot has to do with trust in an entrepreneur. But this trust cannot be destroyed. ”
Lubinsky's further plans are to develop a platform for renting commercial premises, as well as invest in virtual reality technologies, which will allow in the future to completely avoid the services of a realtor in the process of finding an apartment.
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