A struggle over an apartment security deposit has been spun into a rapidly scaling startup with roots across the Southeast.
Based out of New Orleans, RentCheck was started after Lydia Winkler was moving out of her first-year law school apartment. “I never got my security deposit back,” she tells Hypepotamus. “I deemed this an injustice, so I represented myself and sued my former landlord in court. I submitted time-stamped photos of the move-out condition of the property into evidence, and I ended up winning the case.”
Winkler met her co-founder Marco Nelson, who brings a property management perspective to the startup, while the two were both at Tulane University. Ultimately, Winkler says that the platform “creates a uniform system for managing the condition of rental units by empowering residents to conduct self-guided property inspections.”
The founding team of Winkler and Nelson are looking to tackle the pain points found on both sides of the tenant-landlord relationship. That might look like logging missing items, broken appliances, or other safety issues inside a space.
The team just raised a $2.6 million seed round to do just that. The seed round brings RentCheck’s total funding to $3.6 million to date.
Institutional investors include Irongrey, Context Ventures, and Techstars. TPG Capital founder Jim Coulter, Cox Enterprises, Jim Payne, Ken Goldman, Mark Zaleski, John Kuolt, and Brian Long have also joined as investors.
The funding, Winkler says, will go towards improving product integrations and building out the sales team.
“What we love about RentCheck is that it’s using very clever technology to automate and solve arguably the industry’s biggest problem in terms of money and time for both property managers and tenants. The deposit deduction issue needs a technology-based solution, and almost everyone, at some time, has felt like they’ve been screwed over on their deposit by a landlord. When you see and use RentCheck’s solution, it makes you think: ‘Why didn’t I think of this?’” said investors John Kuolt, former Managing Director at BCG Digital Ventures, in a statement.
Renting in a Post-Pandemic World
The team started tackling the problem in the pre-pandemic world, ultimately winning the 2019 pitch competition at New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week and joining Techstars Atlanta that same year.
“The property management space, in general, has been slow to adopt new technology and we have seen the pandemic accelerate technology adoption across the industry. We are happy that we were positioned to take advantage of that by having a product that was a win-win for both property managers and residents during the pandemic,” says Winkler.
“We chose to do Techstars Atlanta because we were focused on getting to product-market fit and Dave Payne, the Managing Director at Techstars Atlanta, is a product expert. Atlanta also has a great real estate market. Techstars Atlanta gave us the resources to get to where we are today. We’re grateful for the Techstars team, mentors, and the other members of our cohort. Both Techstars and Cox Enterprises participated in our current round and have continued to support us,” adds Winkler.
While Winkler credits Techstars Atlanta’s Managing Director David Payne for helping them get off the ground, RentCheck plans on expanding its New Orleans-based team up from its current 10 people.
“New Orleans is where Marco and I met on the first day of business school orientation at Tulane. The local tech community has been very supportive and we’re thrilled to be headquartered in the best city in the swamp! People in New Orleans are passionate and care about each other, which has helped us build a great core team and culture. New Orleans does lack a talent pool of B2B sales professionals, which is why our relationship with Atlanta (Techstars) has been so great as we transition into building out a sales team.”