French startup Bellman has raised a $4.5 million (€4 million) seed extension round led by Lakestar with existing investors Connect Ventures and Financière Saint-James also participating. Bellman is focused on improving residential building management.
But the startup doesn’t think you can replace this job with software altogether. Instead, Bellman thinks it can greatly improve the experience by building a tech platform and hiring in-house property managers.
In France, most residential buildings are managed by private companies specialized in property management. They handle all the relationships with third-party companies, from utilities to construction work, cleaning, insurance and more.
But most of those companies rely on emails and letters to send information. If you’re looking for some details on a change in your building, you’re going to waste a ton of time looking for that info.
That’s why Bellman has built a tech platform for both property managers and landlords. The startup’s property managers use it to centralize everything, from contact info to bills, while co-owners get email updates and a central repository with everything related to their building.
Eventually, Bellman wants to automate some of the most repetitive tasks so that property managers become more efficient. They can spend more time renegotiating contracts and working on long-term issues. This isn’t about undercutting the competition, but more about improving the experience.
When I first covered Bellman, the startup was just getting started with a dozen buildings under management. It is now working with 100 buildings, representing 2,500 people paying a monthly fee.
With today’s funding round, the company wants to do more of the same — Bellman is going to hire more in-house property managers and more people on the software development team. Right now, the startup is still focusing on the Paris area.