Property management is one of those industries that typically lags behind the rest of the U.S. economy in terms of technology, customer service and transparency.
Castle, part of YC’s Winter 2016 class, is trying to bring the industry up to date with its automated property management platform.
The site consolidates all of the hard parts of property management — like property listing and marketing, tenant screening, rent collection and maintenance — into an easy to use interface that doesn’t look like it was designed in the 1990s.
But how has Castle consolidated all these services into one platform? Mainly through a combination of technology and on-demand labor.
For example, after a property is added to Castle, the startup will automatically market it on more than 40 listing sites. And when it’s time to show the property to a prospective renter, Castle has an on-demand labor pool of Stewards, who are hourly workers that take care of on-site jobs like showing properties and delivering keys.
Castle also stands out through the way it generates revenue. While most incumbent property management companies charge a percentage of rent collected, Castle just charges a flat fee of $79 per unit per month.
The company launched in Detroit when founders Max Nussenbaum, Scott Lowe and Tim Dingman bought a foreclosed mansion during their Venture for America fellowship program.
At some point in the process they concluded they couldn’t trust to watch over their new purchase any of the property management companies they were vetting, so Castle was born.
The platform is now live for property owners in Detroit, and will be expanding soon to other U.S. cities.