LTP recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rahul Mewawalla, CEO and President of Zenplace. Rahul is the former head of US’ first technology program in SF with the White House, and previously ran one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing mobile commerce and payments services. He also held global leadership roles with companies such as Nokia, NBC Universal, Yahoo, and GE. He was named one of the ‘Top 40 under 40’ and awarded the ‘Future Global Mobile Gold Award’ for business and technology innovation. Rahul is a speaker at institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton, Yale, and the University of California. He also serves on a number of corporate and philanthropic boards.
LTP Team: In addition to being supported by investors behind PayPal, Facebook, YouTube, and other notable companies, Zenplace was also named among the “Top 10” companies disrupting the $10 trillion-dollar real estate market. Congratulations on these achievements! Can you provide us a brief introduction to Zenplace and the solution that you bring to market?
Rahul Mewawalla: In just the last decade, the percentage of residential real estate that is rented and not owned has gone from 30% to 40%. That is a huge shift in a short period of time, especially for the real estate industry, which at $10 trillion represents one of the largest global asset classes. In the top 100 US cities, more than half of those cities now have more renters than owners. The demand for rental homes is also driving the unprecedented growth for property management services, which is now a $70bn+ market in the United States.
However, the traditional industry has largely lagged behind on the customer experience for owners and tenants. Zenplace combines property management professionals with next-generation technology including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and chatbots to enhance the owner and tenant experience, lower costs, and improve returns for property owners.
LTP Team: Zenplace brings together property management expertise combined with innovative technology. What are the main benefits of using Zenplace Property Management for landlords? Could you please tell us about the value that you provide to property owners that have Zenplace manage their properties?
Zenplace reinvented the full-service property management experience to provide owners with higher returns, lower costs, and peace-of-mind, with an enhanced owner and tenant experience. Owners and properties managed by Zenplace benefit from adaptive algorithms used by companies like Google and Amazon for reducing vacancy times and resulting in quicker turnaround times. Zenplace’s innovative end-to-end technology also sources, screens and places great tenants, making it easy and effortless for property owners.
Zenplace also uses an innovative approach towards property maintenance, repair and vendor management. Traditional property managers have a fixed roster of vendors they use. Instead, Zenplace’s machine learning technologies scan local vendors across the nation based on price, timelines, reliability, reviews, availability, and numerous other variables to quickly assess and determine the best & most-competitively priced vendor for the specific task. Scheduling automatically syncs with the tenant & vendor’s availability and every task is reviewed. As a result property owners see quicker turnarounds, lower costs and higher service levels.
Typical property managers will have a fee ranging from 7%–10% of rent with a number of additional charges. Zenplace, on the other hand, continuously enhances processes and uses innovative technologies to provide a higher level of services, be more efficient; it charges a flat and transparent rate for full-service property management, which property owners love and see as an exciting and compelling proposition.
LTP Team: How are you changing the world of property management from reactive to proactive, and how does that impact owners and tenants? Where can property owners and landlords learn more about Zenplace?
RM: Zenplace’s proprietary machine learning and artificial intelligence programs create predictive insights and recommendations for property owners. Property management today is largely reactive; you wait for a problem and then tackle it. Our view is that it needs to be proactive and should be able to mitigate issues before they happen. Currently, management companies are indeed reactive in nature, they wait for a problem to appear and then deal with it.
Zenplace, on the other hand, is using data sets to enable landlords to be proactive. By knowing your property’s components and referencing with manufacturer’s recommendations and real-world conditions, issues can be resolved before any possible expensive problems occur or replacements are needed. This can help property owners and landlords save billions of dollars a year, better protect and maintain their properties, and result in a greater cap return, higher return-on-investment (ROI) and peace of mind for owners and a truly enjoyable and hassle-free experience for tenants. Property owners and landlords can learn more at the company's website.
LTP Team: What are the latest trends in payments, especially in real estate, which is one of the largest sectors of payments and transactions?
RM: We’re seeing some interesting trends – a large percentage of our tenants pay rent online through electronic payment channels, and we also enable transactions through smart home devices. Tenants are using their payment info stored with us to help enable a broad spectrum of other home related services. For owners, we collect and process their rent payments 3X quicker than the traditional industry, which means owners receive funds quickly and with peace-of-mind. As you know, the USrental market is one of the largest and highest volume payments markets processing over $450+ billion dollars every year.
About Zenplace and Plug and Play
Zenplace recently graduated from the Silicon Valley based accelerator Plug and Play. Want to be in touch? contact Ashlene Ramadan at firstname.lastname@example.org