I recently chatted with Sean MacKay of BuzzBuzzHomes, North America’s leading real estate blog. Here’s the story:
If you’re a renter, odds are your cheque book sits in a drawer for 99.9 per cent of the year. Then the time comes to cut another set of rent cheques for your landlord and you ceremoniously retrieve it, blow the dust off and spend 10 minutes trying to find a pen that hasn’t dried up.
Debit and credit cards are used for just about every transaction under the sun, but for some reason, landlords and property management companies still want to cash cheques every month for rent payments.
While this might not be the sexiest industry to disrupt, it’s one that’s in dire need of a technological update. That’s where RentMoola comes in.
Founded in Vancouver by brothers Patrick and Philipp Postrehovsky in 2012, RentMoola already has been adopted by some of North America’s biggest property management companies to accept rent payments from their tenants through Visa, Master Card, AMEX, Discover and direct debit.
To make a good idea even more interesting, tenants to earn rewards while paying rent through the company’s MoolaPerks program. Participants in the rewards program include Rogers, Uber, Zipcar and Clearly Contacts.
The idea for RentMoola came from a hugely inconvenient routine that Patrick found himself in while living in Shanghai a few years ago. He had to pay rent in cash and because of the daily withdrawal limit on his bank account, he had to take out rent money over a five day period. He discovered it was easier to buy Chinese currency and put it on his rewards card. He had to pay a four per cent fee for buying the currency, but wound up accumulating so many points that he earned three free flights over a relatively short period of time.
“When he returned from Shanghai, we chatted and realized that people still mainly pay their rent in cheque,” said Patrick’s brother Philipp.
“It’s really the only industry that still predominantly accepts cheques. People hate cheques and you really get nothing for paying your rent besides your home. That’s awesome, of course, but you don’t get anything extra. That’s how we came up with RentMoola.”
The brothers officially launched the product in spring 2013 and have already amassed 200,000 units in their database across Canada and the US.
They’ve attracted top talent, with Steve Cadigan, former VP Talent at LinkedIn, joining the RentMoola team as the People and Culture Advisor. They’ve also been profiled in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and The Vancouver Sun and were included in the April edition of the TechVibes 20, a bi-monthly list of the most promising tech startups across Canada.
That’s an impressive roster of accomplishments for a company that was founded in 2012.
“We feel like we’re making an impact in North America and, really, this is a global opportunity,” said Philipp.
Driving home his point about RentMoola going global, the company opened an office in New York in April and have plans to open offices in London and Sydney this year. Back in Canada, RentMoola is still based in Vancouver but has opened an office in Toronto too.
So next time you’re tasked with digging up your dusty cheque book maybe you should ask your landlord if you can get on RentMoola instead.
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