The property management space has come a long way since the early noughties with the rise of Proptech start-ups like Kolmeo, which is using advanced AI and behavioural science to simplify the rental process.
Kolmeo, which is a Finnish word for triangle, aims to make the rental experience simple and convenient for the three sides of property management: managers, landlords, and tenants.
Kolmeo CEO Scott Bateman (pictured) told Your Investment Property the start-up has developed a property management platform that aims to address the long-standing complexities of the rental market.
"Using advanced AI, the platform learns and understands how property managers work to ease their day-to-day stress and connect them to available services across the journey," Mr Bateman said.
"For owners there is a huge benefit, as it means that they are as connected to their property as they are to their internet banking.
“We believe transparency is key and by doing this there are great efficiencies for all stakeholders involved."
How Kolmeo makes the rental process easier for landlords, property managers, and tenants
Kolmeo's property management platform employs a three-pronged approach in addressing the challenges in tenancies, making it a one-stop shop for all the stakeholders in the process.
Since its launch at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Kolmeo has been growing its network of managers, landlords, and tenants. Currently, it is providing support for 60,000 people across its platform. It is on track to hit 90,000 by the end of October.
On the side of the landlords, Kolmeo works through a mobile app called Kolmeo Connect.
Aside from the current tenancy details, rent amount, and frequency of payments, the mobile app gives owners a bird's eye view on how their properties are performing.
There is no need for investors to wait for the monthly report from their property managers, as they can already view how their properties are tracking the market on a daily basis with a few taps on the mobile app.
Kolmeo Connect also provides a convenient way for landlords to communicate with their property manager.
Mr Bateman believes it is crucial that investors and property managers have a constant communication, given that property management is an "extremely transient" space.
"The average time in a role for most property managers is less than a year. For owners, this is incredibly frustrating,” he said.
“They have new team members constantly being brought up to speed and with that brings annoyance and delays.”
Furthermore, Kolmeo Connect enables landlords to track rental payments, expenses, and overall income for a particular month.
Mr Bateman said an advanced payment rail is used for Kolmeo, which means that money going in does not need to get held up in trust accounts.
"It also eliminates the risk that an agent or their employees accessing those funds inappropriately,” he said.
“All work done on Kolmeo is performed on an immutable ledger, which creates traceability and certainty over who did what, when they did it and what was changed.”
Kolmeo streamlines the property management process for agencies and managers.
With Kolmeo, property managers can integrate other tools they use to into a single workspace platform.
Through the platform and its corresponding mobile app, property managers can track and organise all requests, book property inspections, and manage property portfolios of their clients.
"What we have really loved is talking to property managers about how much easier it is to get things moving and be responsive to owners and tenants, in particular, when they’re on the road because they can work from their mobile device now," Mr Bateman said.
Kolmeo's platform also makes it easier for tenants to connect with their property manager.
Tenants can use the platform to pay their rent, update contact details and make changes to their lease arrangements such as adding partners or housemates.
Tenants can also use the platform to log requests for repairs on the property. The platform ensures accountability from landlords by allowing tenants to monitor the progress of these requests.
A mobile app is currently under development for tenants.
What’s next for Kolmeo?
While Kolmeo was founded by individuals that have been in Proptech for over 15 years, it’s still early in its journey.
Mr Bateman said there are current projects and plans to incorporate other technologies into the platform
“We are building a marketplace into the Kolmeo platform which is scheduled for 2022,” he said.
“This will allow property managers and owners to easily access services that can help with the maintenance of their property and brings peace of mind when choosing new suppliers.”
The planned marketplace will ride on the buy-now-pay-later trend, which will enable landlords to break down unexpected maintenance and other expenses into instalments.
There are also plans to employ predictive analytics to enable landlords and managers to forecast expenses.
“For instance, with all the data available on your property, such as the age of an appliance or how many maintenance events have occurred, Kolmeo will be able to predict future costs so that you can budget for them,” Mr Bateman said.
“We’re able to use all this data to give owners real insights into their investment and understand their property like never before.
“It means they will be able to see their return on investment, just as they would a share portfolio, and have more visibility on the metrics that underpin their property’s performance.”
Mr Bateman believes these technological advancements will enable property investors to make the most out of their investments.
“Owners outlay an incredible amount of capital towards their investment. We’ve unlocked the benefits of technology in all other facets of our lives, it’s now time to unlock the technology benefits for our investment properties,” he said.
“The technology behind Kolmeo takes away some of the traditional frustrations of the dynamics of the property management industry – allowing for greater efficiencies and transparency, and ultimately control.”
“Instead of constantly being reactive, owners have the information to proactively manage their asset, supported by better equipped and informed property managers.”