Toronto-based PropertyVista is launching its property management platform today in public beta, providing landlords and tenant building managers with an easy way to track and manage their assets and residents on the web. The startup takes care of both customer-facing and back-end parts of the equation, and comes out of CEO Leonard Drimmer’s extensive experience in the industry, most recently as CEO of property management firm TransGlobe, which manages over 31,000 apartments in Canada.
What Drimmer noticed (and what’s likely apparent to anyone who’s ever even lived in rentals) is that there was really no good solution for managing apartments that also extended to client-facing services like accepting payments and providing key contact, layout and amenity information. PropertyVista does all of that, letting users create a front-facing site for managing the rental relationship from application to collecting rent and communication between tenant and property manager. It also providers a powerful backend for users that doesn’t require much technical expertise; a necessity in an industry where most people doing the frontline work aren’t necessarily tech-savvy.
Drimmer explained in an interview that what he wanted to provide with PropertyVista is something that will work for both landlords and large retail investment trusts (REIT) alike, allowing them to add or subtract elements depending on their needs. PropertyVista emphasizes the connection between landlords and their tenants, he notes, which is not something that’s been widely available on the market to date, even though startups like RentingWell are emerging to try and simplify the process, and companies like JazLife are trying to give tenants and property managers a way to connect.
“Mid-size to smaller companies really don’t use anything and don’t have this capability, it would be way too expensive and too hard for them to set up,” Drimmer said. “And among larger landlords, some of these components are done manually still to this day. There are other similar software solutions out there, but they’re more accounting software. We’re more customer relationship management software.”
The service starts at $9.99 per month for an annual subscription, or $14.99 if a user wants to go month-to-month. But it’s designed to scale quickly, with custom pricing options available for companies with a large volume of rental inventory to look after. Since PropertyVista includes potential tenant credit vetting services provided by Equifax (something small landlords often don’t bother with or necessarily understand), and payments via online and mobile made through Visa, e-check, and more, which could potentially lower payment lateness and delinquency, it seems like a solution that’ll turn a few heads. Though Drimmer says that early feedback is positive, now that the beta product is open to the public instead of a handpicked few, it will need to win approval outside of a controlled environment.
On the backend, PropertyVista’s drag-and-drop analytics and reporting tools seem like something that should be generally useful, especially in cases where the alternative is poring over Excel sheets or hand-written ledgers. Now that the tool is available to any property manager, it will be interesting to see if more interest comes from those looking after fewer units, or the big firms looking for something simple, cloud-based and scalable to replace legacy systems. PropertyVista hopes to launch its full version 1.0 software this winter, and while it’s focusing on the Canadian market for right now, Drimmer says that other markets are definitely in the cards for future expansion.