DALLAS, TX – The National Multi Housing Council decided to add a little spice to its highly successful flagship OpTech Conference this year. NMHC decided to put its own spin on a version of ABC’s Shark Tank and find some startups in the multifamily industry to come pitch their technology ideas. Of course, they needed somebody to pitch to beside the live audience they were standing before, so NMHC assembled an elite panel of multifamily industry leaders to make the final decision to crown the winner.
But before these technology entrepreneurs faced the judging panel and a standing room only live audience, they had to make it through the process. The promising startups had to have an innovative new technology product or service that would benefit the apartment industry in some way, have been in business for less than five years, and be prepared to give a live presentation detailing their idea before the panel of judges.
NMHC President Doug Bibby stated, “we did not know what the response was going to be, we had a very narrow line to follow to make sure we had real startup companies that had solutions geared specifically to our industry. Much to our surprise with just pure Internet based marketing through our sponsor MultifamilyBiz.com, we were overwhelmed with applicants eager for a chance to give their pitch.”
With the entries for the NMHC LaunchPad Startup Competition stacked high, NMHC quickly assembled a panel to weed through the applicants to find a unique a diverse group of startups to make the final cut. The “Final Four” selected to give their pitch were the following:
CommunityVibe: A Software as a Service solution which helps property managers improve their Net Operating Income and associated renter occupancy levels through a focus on maintenance management and resident satisfaction. The platform is accessible on touch screen devices and available to property managers, maintenance teams and residents.
Verdek: An Electric Vehicle Charging Station provider for commercial use in areas such as multifamily housing developments that fills the strong and growing interest among multifamily owners and managers in having charging stations as an important amenity in the near future, and maybe a virtual necessity for their properties in the not-too-distant future.
Relaborate: A web based application that makes it easier for property managers, developers and other real estate professionals to write high quality articles for their blogs and other social channels, which helps them receive more favorable rankings in search results.
Kwelia: A data analytics platform for residential real estate, which sits at the nexus between big data, heavy quantitative analysis, and real estate to finally deliver groundbreaking market intelligence to real estate professionals in real time.
With the NMHC President, Doug Bibby, serving as moderator, the startups were given 10 minutes each to pitch their innovative technology and then were engaged in a question and answer session by industry leaders: Terry Danner, President, Riverstone Residential Group; Kristy Simonette, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services, Camden Property Trust; Julie Smith, President, Bozzuto Management Company; and Scott Wesson, Chief Information Officer, UDR, Inc.
In the end, the judges selected CommunityVibe for its proprietary technology built out of Carnegie Mellon University that incorporates resident feedback into various aspects of the maintenance work to provide rich feedback regarding team and property performance. CommunityVibe, Inc. CEO Kariithi Kilemi’s pitch centered on how his software helps property managers address the #1 cause of avoidable resident turnover – poor maintenance – by providing an integrated maintenance management and resident satisfaction solution.
Pittsburg based CommunityVibe, Inc. was honored with the NMHC Innovator Award, $5,000 in cash and a one-year Advisory Committee membership in NMHC.