Rentberry CEO talks to Benzinga about revolutionizing the rental experience

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Benzinga spoke with Rentberry Inc.‘s CEO Oleksiy Lubinsky on the company’s history and where it’s going. Here is what Lubinsky had to say:

Benzinga: What was the inspiration for Rentberry?

When Lubinsky and his colleagues worked on their previous startup CityHour, they experienced the full brunt of a failing rental system in Silicon Valley.

“It took us 28 days to find housing, and the rental platforms we had to go through had primitive functionality,” Lubinsky said.

The reported reality in some parts of the rental world is that there is a lack of transparency and the process is not streamlined – there is little automation and almost everything is manual.

Lubinsky said he wanted to create a platform that provides transparency for tenants and connects them to landlords in a simple and seamless way. Rentberry was a solution to an all too common problem for anyone who has ever rented.

Benzinga: What sets your platform apart from other platforms like Zillow or Trulia?

Rentberry is a platform where all rental tasks can be done in one place. There is no need to wait for an owner to complete each step. On a platform like Zillow, everything is manual. You have to call or email the owner on a listing you like, then there’s a lot of back and forth.

Rentberry eliminates this nuisance. Lubinsky explained that they built the platform with users in mind. A user uploads all necessary documentation to the platform so that all rental tasks can be done in one place. The owner can also easily view all applicants and manage next steps online. The platform was created to save tenants time, money and stress.

Another aspect that sets Rentberry apart is the transparency that the platform promotes. On Rentberry, a candidate can see how many applications have been submitted for listing along with other relevant information. For example, a candidate can see if a competing candidate has offered more money, is a smoker, has roommates or pets and more. By providing this information to tenants, they have more power to negotiate and choose their properties wisely.

Benzinga: How does Rentberry fit into the current and future real estate landscape?

Lubinsky shared that more people will be renting than buying in the near future. He explained that the real estate landscape is going through a “process of uberization”. Just as people rely less on cars with the advent of platforms like Uber, people will turn more to renting than buying property.

“Between maintaining a home and things like property taxes, owning a home can be difficult,” he said.

Even when people buy homes, Lubinsky said he thinks it will be later in life after a longer rental period. For this reason, it was important for his team to create a user-friendly rental platform.

More and more people are also looking for medium-term rentals. In a world of digital nomads and people working from home, not to mention people who travel frequently for school or work, the need for mid-term rentals is on the rise. Rentberry will offer a Flexible Living option on its platform.

The Flexible Living feature is for people looking for contracts between three and 12 months. Rental properties that are part of this program require no security deposit and are fully furnished.

These properties are ideal for someone who “knows they’re going to be in Miami for three months and then Los Angeles for four months,” Lubinsky said. “An Airbnb is too expensive for long-term rentals, and people shouldn’t have to risk breaking their leases to find a place to stay.”

One of the things that Rentberry Lubinsky is so proud of is the user acquisition of the platform. Because the platform allows users to store documentation, make monthly payments, and request maintenance all in one place, people stay on Rentberry. Users’ tenant profiles make it easier for them to find accommodation when they next move. This is especially useful for people who move frequently.

Benzinga: What’s on the horizon for Rentberry?

Lubinsky explains that Rentberry is looking to expand into commercial real estate and the senior housing industry.

“The senior housing industry is broken,” he said. It is full of hidden fees and an overwhelming lack of transparency. Children, who often have the burden of finding a favorable living situation for their parents, often search in the dark for rental properties.

Rentberry hopes to bring transparency and usability to retirement homes and commercial real estate.

Benzinga: Can you describe your fundraising?

Rentberry is organizing a crowdfunding campaign until October 28. The company is seeking to raise $12.4 million and has now raised more than $11 million of its target from approximately 6,500 investors.

The company has already raised more than $21 million from leading venture capital funds and recognized angel investors from Google, McKinsey & Co., CBRE and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels. Lubinsky mentioned that there was also an equity premium available to all investors. By contributing $10,000, investors can receive up to 20% in free shares.

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Photo presented by Luc van Zyl on Unsplash

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