Keyo modernizes housing with rent auto-pay that boosts your credit

There’s nothing we spend more money on for a worse experience than housing. Keyo wants to fix all of it. The audacious startup envisions a world where a building’s other tenants get $20 to show you an available apartment on your schedule. Where you auto-pay your rent online and it improves your credit score. Where you get local business perks and can communicate maintenance requests through an app by renting in a Keyo location. And where it’s all free because landlords pay Keyo to fill their units faster.

It’d seem like a crazily ambitious startup idea if it wasn’t already working. Keyo has 4300 units under management in Brooklyn. And now it’s ready to come out of stealth with a $2.5 million seed fundraise led by a Silicon Valley fixture it won’t disclose that follows Keyo’s $1 million friends-and-family round.

“Renting hasn’t changed much. It needs to” declares founder Kiran Bellubbi. “You pay rent on time and get nothing in return.”

Bellubbi might have come from the music world, not real estate, but he’s studied in the art of redefining a behavior pattern. His app Band Of The Day usurped the traditional music blog, running for five years and winning runner-up to Instagram for Apple’s App Of The Year in 2011. Bringing his total fundraise to $10 million, Bellubbi pivoted Band Of The Day into Applauze, a concert ticket app that combined official and secondary sales so you could always see the show.

Keyo faces the daunting challenge of changing the behavior of landlords who either have been collecting checks the same way for decades, or use property management software designed for them but not necessarily the tenant. But similar to how Uber recruited black car drivers by enticing them with mobile customer demand, Keyo could incentivize landlords by getting prospective residents to demand its perks.

How Keyo Works

Today in dense urban areas, tenants frequently change apartments as their income grows and the tire of different neighborhoods. High prices to buy a home and the desire to delay having kids are leading people to rent for longer. “12 to 20 percent of inventory churns every year” says Bellubbi. “I have no allegiance to a building. I just leave.” Keyo gives them a reason to stay.

Bellubbi brought the idea for Keyo to me six months ago when it was just a crowdsourced door opening service that paid locals to show you an available apartment whenever you wanted. Rather than hassle with coordinating a time with a real estate broker, you could preview apartments in the app and go see them immediately. But Keyo needed a better way to get control of properties.

Now Keyo has blossomed into a full-scale software-as-a-service for landlords, targeting small-to-medium sized renters with 20 to 5000 units. It’s either full-featured or trying to do too much depending on your perspective.

The service is free for tenants, and the pitch to them 5 key(o) parts:

Source: Keyo modernizes housing with rent auto-pay that boosts your credit

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