Thursday, September 24, 2015

One Entrepreneur's Startup Odyssey- RENTALUTIONS

One entrepreneur's startup odyssey

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Ryan Coon
Ryan Coon
Ryan Coon's journey to land $750,000 in seed funding took him three years and went from Silicon Valley to New York.
His company Rentalutions, is an online platform to make it easier for small landlords manage their properties. It's signed up 14,000 landlords in 5,400 Zip codes.
Coon and his partner, Laurence Jankelow, signed up their first customers in 2013. The two finance majors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign decided to start the company after they explored buying some properties during 2010 and 2011.
“We found out it was kind of a pain to own and manage a small portfolio if you're an individual owner,” Coon said.
He learned to code at Starter League, then called Code Academy, and later moved into 1871. Coon moved to Silicon Valley for four months as part of the Plug and Play accelerator program. More recently, Rentalutions signed up with New York-based Metaprop, a real estate accelerator that's run by Chicagoan Aaron Block, former CEO of and former Cushman & Wakefield executive.
The $750,000 funding round was led by Metaprop and included Steve Olechowski, a Feedburner cofounder helped Plug and Play establish a foothold in Chicago last year.
About half the investment from Rentalutions customers, small landlords rely on the product to help them advertise, screen tenants, lease their rental properties and keep track of maintenance requests from tenants.
The subscription service is free for landlords with a single unit, but costs $25 for two to five units and grows from there. Rentalutions has customers with up to 150 units, Coon said.
“We handle rent collection, rent processing and scheduling reminders when rent is due,” he said. “We also help with maintenance.”
The funding will help Rentalutions add to five-person staff and step up its marketing.
“That's been the biggest challenge,” he said. “With individual owners, it's highly fragmented."
Coon estimates there are 8 million independent landlords who own about half of all rental properties. That's a lot of potential customers, and a lot of doors to knock on. This entrepreneur's journey is just beginning.

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