For David Vivero, all of this looked like a tragic opportunity. Vivero is ramping up RentJuice, a San Francisco startup he founded that offers tools to landlords and property managers that make it easier to advertise, manage and track rental properties in bulk. The 14-person company is funded by well known venture capitalist Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, who also sits on its board of directors.
The bursting of the property bubble means a bigger market pool for RentJuice, but Vivero likely would have had a solid market to target regardless of the recent economic woes. The property-management business has been stuck in the Dark Ages: Many companies still fax around paper listings and inventory reports, and their office managers in many cases still rely on ancient notebooks or simple spreadsheets.
"We make the process of posting to those 30 sites as quick as pushing a button," Vivero told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The company launched in 2008 and released its first product in the spring of 2009. It's currently offered in New York, Chicago, Boston and South Florida, and a Bay Area roll-out is slated for early next year. RentJuice charges roughly $30 to $40 per seat, with volume discounts to use its software-as-a-service platform. That may sound like a lot, but considering that a $1,000 rental unit is worth $35 per day, even small improvements in vacancy rates could quickly allow the product to pay for itself.
With Renter Nation now a reality, giving rental agents an edge could prove to be a savvy business play.