So, you have roommates and every month, the rent comes due. Not to mention the utilities and the various and sundries that you split, too, come the end of the month. Instead of chasing your cohabiters down for the money for each and every bill, RentShare makes it easy. Add utilities and other household expenses and RentShare adjusts everyone’s rent totals each month to even-out debts automatically. They even provide a service where they’ll send the rent money to your landlord – and your landlord isn’t even required to sign up for the service. As for the utilities and the pizza – RentShare will collect everyone’s fair share, but you’re responsible for doling out the dosh yourself. The company is based at the coworking space COWORK|RS – who are implementing the platform themselves to make it easier for tenants.
RentShare co-founder Ian Halpern is here to – share.
Tell us about the service.
RentShare makes it easy to pay and collect rent. To make it easy for tenants, we accept bank account payments or credit card payments and support joint roommate payments. We also have a tool for sharing expenses like internet or pizza. To make it easy for landlords, we support rent collection by both direct deposit or physical check and can send payments to multiple accounts for larger property managers. Landlords can use our dashboard to get real-time payment reports and manage their properties and tenants. We also provide branded portals that can be integrated into landlords’ existing websites, and we are partnering with other companies and services interested in leveraging our platform to offer rent payments.
How is it different?
RentShare isn’t your typical rent payment processor. We are heavily focused on designing a payment service that is the least disruptive to how rent is typically paid and collected. That means that we give roommates the ability to move money the same way they do in real life, and give landlords the ability to collect money by whatever method works best for them (and sometimes that means still sending physical checks). To create such a frictionless experience that “just works,” we also needed to design a system that, behind the scenes, could handle all of the problems and hurdles associated with online payments – including fraud, chargebacks, data security, account underwriting, risk analysis, etc. We found that the existing payment technologies and services were not ideal for this particular vertical and couldn’t provide everything we needed. These roadblocks and frustrations led us to focus on payment innovations internally to get exactly what we wanted. There are a lot of hard problems and we’re never satisfied, but we’re well on our way to providing payment technology that hits our goals of being simple, secure, and flexible to meet the real world needs of people who make rent payments and collections in modern society.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
There are ~100 million renters in the US and ~10 million landlords. Our tenant platform can be a great fit for all renters, but we estimate about 30 of the 100 million renters are our exact targets for the roommate and expense sharing tools. As for landlords, we also estimate that seven of the 10 million are in the small to medium sized range, which is the sweet spot for our dashboard. This is a growing market–more and more people are renting and for a longer period of time.
What is the business model?
Currently, users pay for our service, either with a flat fee (if they pay using a bank account), or with a percentage of their rent payment (if they pay using a debit or credit card). Landlords have the option to cover transaction fees and soon will be able to take advantage of premium features.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
We are working on an enhanced version of our mobile platform for tenants and the next version of our landlord platform to simplify the dashboard even more, make it easier for reporting, and giving more control over billing. We’re also working on some premium features for landlords.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
David Tisch’s BoxGroup. We see a lot of potential strategic opportunities within their portfolio.
Why did you launch in New York?
We chose New York because it’s the center of finance and real estate and we are a financial technology company focused on real estate.
When did you move into Cowork|rs and what’s been your experience with your office, and the space at large? Also, is this your first official office, or were you somewhere else/in another coworking space before? If so, why did you move?
We moved in January, and are loving the space so far. We previously worked out of General Assembly and the Farm, but we’ve found that being in a private office has been great for our team….so has the foosball table.
What’s your favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood?
We’ve become a big fan of an Indian cart we found on 19th and Park Ave. Their chicken is incredible!