There are those times when the most disruptive technologies succeed by knowing just how far to push the limits. That’s part of the beauty of RentShare – and no doubt contributed to the company’s being acquired by commerce technology and integrated payments provider i3 Verticals, LLC.
RentShare is a platform that seamlessly allows renters to pay their rent online and allows landlords to collect those payments however they like, even if they still prefer getting checks. Through RentShare, roommates can split rent and share the cost of monthly expenses easily. It also allows property managers and owners to track rent payments, receive direct deposit, and remind tenants to pay, all at no cost to them.
Combined, i3 Verticals and RentShare will process over $4 billion in 2015.
RentShare founder and CEO Ian Halpern tells us how it all came together.
Tell us about your service.
RentShare launched in late 2011 as a simple way to split rent and expenses with roommates. Today, it has evolved into a robust payment platform that gives landlords of all sizes a simple and frictionless way to collect rent online and offer their tenants a modern way to pay rent with a credit card or bank account.
Who acquired you and what was the acquisition process like?
i3 Verticals, LLC is a commerce technology and integrated payments provider with offices in New York, Nashville, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Denver.
Greg Daily, i3 Verticals’ CEO, and Rick Stanford, Head of M&A, approached us in mid 2014, at a time when we had just begun considering taking money in order to accelerate growth. Acquisition wasn’t on our radar at all at that point, but after a few conversations, it became clear that i3 Verticals could be a fantastic partner for RentShare. Their seasoned management team, experience and resources provide a natural complement to our competencies in product development and payments infrastructure design. After a few lengthy conversations, they made an offer and the rest was history.
The closing process itself was long and sometimes tedious, but exciting, and we were lucky to have talented legal representation on both sides. They did an incredible job pulling this whole thing together, and I am very appreciative to them for everything they did for us throughout the process.
What factors about your business led i3 Verticals to consider the acquisition?
i3Veriticals’ mission is to help provide modern solutions to emerging payment verticals, including education, government, healthcare and property management. When we started speaking with them, they were actively seeking a product and team to partner with in order to kickstart their growth among landlords and property managers. They were interested in RentShare for several reasons.
First of all, we take a unique approach to introducing online payments to landlords. Rather than ask our customers to disrupt their current processes, we strive to complement them. For example, many landlords and property managers already have efficient processes for collecting paper checks, and while most would like to give tenants more modern payment options, they understandably don’t want to risk disrupting a system that is working for them. We are sympathetic to that mindset and designed a platform that connects to a modern mobile payment system, but enables landlords to receive those payments either electronically or by physical checks, if that works better for them. Either way, tenants get the convenience of paying rent on their phones or automatically online.
Secondly, the i3 team liked our current customer base and our commitment to bringing enterprise level services to small property management firms and independent landlords at reasonable price points. This market segment collects nearly 70% of the rent paid in the U.S., but has traditionally been underserved when it comes to payment management technology.
Thirdly, we had built a suite of custom payment technologies that could have great value for i3 in the rent payment space and beyond.
How has the acquisition been a game changer for you? (Sorry to break the news, but you’re no longer a scrappy startup!)
We are entering a very exciting chapter here at RentShare. We have spent the past four years building RentShare into a stable business and now this new partnership with i3 Verticals adds on even more strength, stability, and experience, along with an infrastructure to support our dramatically accelerating growth. Combined, i3 Verticals and RentShare will process over $4 billion in 2015. In that time, we will be expanding major product, sales, and marketing initiatives aimed at providing a universally accessible mobile rent payment and collection platform to fit the needs of any landlord and tenant. We are also looking to leverage i3 Verticals’ resources to pursue key acquisitions in the space.
Who is your typical customer?
We are equipped to service landlords of all sizes, but our main focus is small property management firms and independent landlords. Additionally, we have some pretty great tools for roommate households and shared spaces, so we see a lot of adoption among landlords servicing college towns, military bases and coworking spaces.
Your offices are located in a coworking space. Could they and do they use RentShare for their members?
They sure do!
What’s the oddest expense that roommates split, that you’ve seen so far?
What advice can you offer companies in New York that are building their businesses?
Invest in a bike and a good lock and put the $1,400 you save on subway fare back into your company.
What’s your favorite NY area beach?