Renting instead of buying property is becoming a harsh reality for a lot of Vancouverites. After all, not everyone can afford paying $55 million in cash for a condo. When you rent, there is a lot of paperwork involved, 12 post-dated cheques is usually part of the package. With RentMoola, this process has become cashless and accessible through your favourite rewards credit cards.
1. Who are you? Tell us about your business/core idea and what inspired you to create it.
RentMoola is a mobile and online payment network in partnership with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express that allows renters and condo owners to pay rent, condo fees and other payments with their favourite rewards credit cards.
CEO and Co founder Patrick Postrehovksy was living in Shanghai paying his rent with cash. He figured out he could buy foreign currency (not a cash advance) at the FOREX bureau at YVR and earned himself 3 round trip business class flights to NYC on Cathay Pacific. When he moved back to Vancouver he realized many people still payed rent by cheque and there was no way to make it count. RentMoola was born!
2. Who competes with you and what makes you stand out from competitors and substitutes?
We have no direct competitors in Canada but several in the US which is a market we are aggressively expending into. We stand out because of our mobile optimized experience, our very own rewards program called MoolaPerks and our exclusive partnership with American Express.
3. How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of Rent Moola?
For the most part we’ve stayed away from the Vancouver startup scene but have built a dream team of advisors, half of which are from Vancouver. Although we’re funded by several overseas investors and majority of funding has come from Vancouver.
4. What kind of challenges has your team had to face and how have you mitigated them?
People ask us why there is a service fee? Well the main reason the property management industry hasn’t adopted credit card payments is due to their thin margins. A 3% to 5% credit card processing fee is simply not sustainable. We only charge the tenant/ condo owner a flat 2.75% service fee regardless of card type. In return they can enjoy up to a 7.5% return through primer travel rewards (ex. flying business class on Aeroplan points), a real convince factor and access exclusive rewards through our own MoolaPerks program.
5. What core problem are you specifically solving for Vancouverites?
We’re solving three main problems:
A) We’re allowing you to make your rent or condo fee payment count by giving you the ability to elevate and accelerate your existing rewards program. Remember all rewards programs provide more value the higher up the tier you go. The Shoppers Optimum Program is a great example.
B) We are bringing a major convenience factor to tenant, owners and the property management industry. You can now make a payment for virtually anything associated with your home right from your phone or laptop
C) We’re finally making rent and condo fee payments paperless. No need to write out 12 post dated rent cheques or fill in a PAD form.
6. What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
There are several but one of them is actually on our advisory team. Darren Stone founded and sold Pay By Phone, which almost everyone has used when parking. The company started right here and revolutionized how people pay for parking around the world way before mobile payments become mainstream.
7. What Vancouver celebrity would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
Any of the Vancouver Canucks. Many of them rent, travel in the off season and have American Express cards. It’s match made in heaven! PS: One has already used RentMoola.
8. What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
Here are my top 4 tips:
1. Don’t just take money from just anyone. Make sure your investors they can open real doors that in return drive up your valuation.
2. Be hyper sensitive to dilution and distraction.
3. Recruit advisors that you’ll actually use on a regular basis and delivery tangible value.
4. KISS: Keep it stupid simple. Focus on just ONE thing and do it better then everyone else.
*End of interview*
RentMoola is doing some interesting things as they ride the cashless and seamless payments trends the world has been moving to in the last 3-5 years. User adoption will be the key as people don’t like to change habits, even though writing 12 post-dated cheques seems laughable in this day and age.
*Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to paul(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit*