7 minute read
November 30, 2020
Providing Stability for Apartment Renters with Brady Nolan of Till
This article originally appeared on www.buildingproptech.com, a retired blog where I interviewed proptech founders on how they were building and growing their businesses.
Till provides powerful financial tools to help renters pay, stay, and thrive in their homes.
Hey Brady! How did you end up working in PropTech?
I was an institutional rental housing executive and previous founder and, after working on that side of the business for more than 15 years and experiencing all the inefficiencies, I realized there had to be a better way to work with renters.
Thankfully I met David Sullivan, our CEO, as he was working on the concept of Till, we immediately clicked and determined it made sense for me to join him on this endeavor.
What problem are you working to solve with Till?
B & C class renters are financially unpredictable - many live paycheck to paycheck and have no savings - and landlords have no data on their current financial circumstances or tools to help work with renters at the individual level.
This leads to significant challenges for both sides - rent is the biggest expense this consumer faces and it is the biggest source of anxiety for them.
There is $50bn in annual rental delinquency, $5bn in high cost late fees charged every year to people who can't afford them, and 5m families are evicted. These are terrible outcomes for both renter and landlord.
How is Till financed?
We are venture backed by a great group of FinTech, PropTech and generalist investors as well as a group of individuals that are incredibly strategic for the business we are building.
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What is Till's growth strategy?
Till partners with institutional (1,000 unit-500,000 unit portfolios) owners and operators of multifamily, single family rental and manufactured housing communities and deploys our products through those partnerships to their residents.
What tactics have you tested for growing your user base and revenue? What has been most effective?
The sale to the renter is a no brainer once we launch - Till is a better way to pay rent. We facilitate a better experience, save them on fees, and transform rent from a cause of anxiety to a source of financial stability.
Once we deploy into a community through the landlord partnership we are seeing significant renter adoption early. For the landlord sale, we are changing how landlords have worked with their renters for 50+ years and its taken time to prove that with performance data.
We significantly outperformed our growth expectations through the pandemic which has allowed us to compile more performance data on how Till is improving on time collections, overall monthly collections and significantly reducing the time their teams have to spend on collecting late rent.
These performance stats are fuelling the next stage of rapid growth in terms of signing up new landlord partners.
What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetizing Till?
This is an extremely complex space with many customer personas. There are owners that manage their own communities, owners that hire fee managers, and fee managers that operate but don't own. Then there are investors that are passive.
They all have different motivations and experience different pain points. We have also been growing a startup during a pandemic. While that has provided more headwinds than tailwinds, because of collections concerns, its has created numerous unknowns for our customers and potential customers and there are only so many hours in a day for them.
Telling the right story, at the right time, to the right customer, during a pandemic is a constant learning experience. This has been, without a doubt, the most mentally stimulating time in my career! But, the value we are creating at their communities speaks for itself which is why we are growing so fast and working with many of the biggest, most sophisticated companies in rental housing.
What insights about real estate and technology have you came to realize whilst building Till?
The industry as a whole moves very slow which I think, for the most part, is justified. Rental housing is very resilient and cash flows tend to be fairly consistent. The industry wants innovation, and is now expecting innovation, but isn't fast to test.
It seems the industry is moving from "if it ain't broke why fix it?" to "maybe we can leverage innovation and tech to make this better." There is a high bar, which we at Till love because it drives us to build the best products we can.