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BW Sessions: Rentalutions

BW Sessions: Rentalutions

by TODD STOLARSKI | Dec 27, 2015


Co-founder Coon

Co-founder Coon

Landlords generally...okay, they always get a bad rap. In fact, just typing that word, ‘landlord', made my spine shiver with thoughts of off-campus horror stories from my college years. Today, Rentalutions is looking to change that negative stigma through  software that helps property managers work in a more effective, even humane manner. But as our chat with co-founder Ryan Coon demonstrates, that’s barely buffing the surface of the newly installed hardwood floors.

BuiltWorlds (BW): Please Give us the skinny on Rentalutions in just 7 sentences.

Ryan Coon (RC): My Co-founder, Laurence (Jankelow), and I met while attending the University of Illinois in Champaign. After graduation, we both took jobs with large companies. By 2012, we were becoming bored and we wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. At first, we considered buying properties and renting them. One of our real estate professors in college had made a fortune doing this, and it seemed like a good next step. After speaking with several landlords we knew, we learned that rentals are a pain to manage. Rather than building a real estate portfolio, we decided to build technology to help landlords save time managing their properties.

BW: So, what’s the gap Rentalutions looks to fill in the real estate market?

RC: By bringing together all of the tools and resources that landlords need, we save them a lot of time and make their lives easier. Institutional investors, who own the other half of the 44 million rental properties in the US, have been using technology platforms like Yardi, RealPage and MRI for decades to make things more efficient. We’re bringing these same tools to that other DIY half of the market.

BW: How long did it take to develop your software?

RC: The initial platform was built by two freelance engineers and took about six months to develop, but that was the easy part. The harder part that we’re still constantly working on is establishing the Rentalutions brand. Although we have more than 16,000 landlords using our platform today, that’s only 0.2% of the eight million DIY landlords in the United States.

BW: Any unexpected challenges?

RC: Our biggest challenge is reaching our target audience. DIY landlords are extremely fragmented and tough to find. Our ideal landlords, who own and self-manage 1-20 rental units, do not always behave like businesses. But they’re also not traditional consumers.

Several companies have tried and failed to reach this segment of the rental market. They’ve failed because they have tried to solve the marketing problem with huge marketing budgets. To succeed and to continue growing, we need to be smarter, leaner and scrappier than our competition.  

BW: What makes Rentalutions stand out from the pack?

RC: There are two things that differentiate us from the other property management software companies. The first is the customer segment we want to help. Our single focus is on helping DIY landlords. These individuals are often part-time or weekend landlords. They’re individuals who want to spend time doing other things than being landlords. Historically, this half of the market has been underserved by other software providers because of how hard they are to reach. We have proven that we are extremely effective at growing a large user base of DIY landlords.

The second thing that separates us is our full-service approach. A lot of companies seek to solve only one pain point, such as collecting rent online. We believe that by combining everything a landlord needs in one place, we can give landlords and tenants a better user experience than if they had to just duct tape together a handful of one-off solutions.

BW: From the inside of our home, how will technology alter our residences as we move forward?

RC: It’s not my area of expertise, but I think we’re just at the beginning of the connected home movement. The sensors and controls that are being installed now will allow for a more personalized living space and a residence that operates more efficiently. It’s great to see that real estate developers are beginning to install much of this technology in new spaces, not waiting for residents to install it after moving in.

BW: A decade from now, how will people be using your offerings?

RC: In the future, Rentalutions will evolve to become much more than property management software. We envision our platform connecting landlords and tenants with the all of the products and services that they need. For example, we recently started working with a Fortune 100 property & casualty insurance company to help tenants easily access renters insurance. We’re already talking with a handful of other partners about developing similar mutually beneficial relationships.

BW: What does 2016 hold for Rentalutions?

RC: We will continue refining our product based on user feedback. One of our biggest upcoming feature enhancements is expense tracking. We’re already capturing the income (rent) part of the P&L. By allowing landlords to track their expenses, we’ll be able to give them very meaningful information about how their properties are performing.


Releasing its initial version back in 2013, Rentalutions says it is the constant user feedback that drives its evolution. As the real estate startup continues to establish and expand its brand in the coming year, Coon promises that his team will “adapt to the needs of the mobile world”. What lies ahead? Even your landlord doesn’t have a key to unlock that door.


To contact the author, write to, or follow him on Twitter @toddstolarski.


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