RentCheck raises $2.6M in seed funding to help renters get their security deposits back

RentCheck created a web tool for property managers that they hope would assist renters with guided property inspections.

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RentCheck, a business that uses an automated property inspection platform to assist address the “he said, she said” problem in these instances, has secured $2.6 million in initial funding.

Lydia Winkler and Marco Nelson founded the firm in mid-2019 after Winkler went through a circumstance similar to mine and ended up suing her landlord in small claims court. At the time, she was pursuing her JD/MBA at Tulane University.

“It was an injustice that I didn’t pursue it,” she added. “I took careful photographs of my apartment’s move-out condition. It took 18 months to complete the process. However, not everyone has the time or knowledge to go to court.”

Nelson, who had purchased many houses and ended up renting them out, was the next person she met. He, too, experienced difficulties with security deposits, but in the opposite direction. He had to handle deposit issues and found himself documenting the state of houses at the time of move-out.

“When I met Lydia, we discovered we were both enthusiastic about the same issue,” Nelson said. RentCheck, situated in New Orleans, was born. There are an estimated 48 million rental apartments in the United States, with a $1,000 deposit.

“A significant portion of that is being fought for on aggregate,” Winkler added. “And so many people need that money to put down a deposit on a new apartment.”

What does RentCheck do?

To solve the issue, RentCheck created a web tool for property managers that they hope would assist renters as well. The digital platform of the firm operates by allowing property managers to facilitate and perform remote, guided property inspections. Due to the automated and contactless nature of the platform, the firm witnessed increasing demand when the COVID-19 epidemic began. In terms of the number of properties on the platform, it increased by 1,000%, largely organically.

“We utilize a guided inspection method to urge and guide customers room by room, informing them exactly what to take photographs of so that floors, ceilings, windows, and walls are all accounted for,” Winkler explained.

Everything is done within the app, so users can’t upload images from their camera roll “to protect the integrity of the examination,” and everything is time-stamped. When the inspection is over, whoever performed it signs off on it, certifying that everything was done correctly and honestly. The property manager can then sign off on it as well, allowing both parties to agree on the move-out condition.

The firm is a SaaS startup that charges property management businesses a monthly fee based on the number of properties they have on the RentCheck platform. They may then do “as many inspections as they want,” Nelson says, “whether they are done by the residents, their own teams, a third-party vendor, or a hybrid of the three.”


RentCheck’s Investors

Since its beginning, the firm has attracted several big-name investors, including James “Jim” Coulter, founder of TPG Capital, who first saw it when it won New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week. Coulter later became one of the company’s initial investors, contributing $1 million to its pre-seed round.

Cox Enterprises participated in the seed round, as did angels such as Jim Payne, who previously sold MoPub to Twitter and MAX to AppLovin; Ken Goldman, the former CFO of Yahoo and who now runs Hillspire, Eric and Wendy Schmidt’s family office; Mark Zaleski and John Kuolt of BCG Digital Ventures, and Brian Long, the fount of BCG Digital Ventures. Institutional investors such as Irongrey, Context Ventures, and Techstars were also present.

“What we like about RentCheck is that it uses really sophisticated technology to automate and address probably the industry’s largest challenge in terms of money and time for both property managers and tenants,” said Kuolt, a former managing director at BCG Digital Ventures and an early RentCheck investor. “The deposit deduction issue requires a technological solution because nearly everyone has been taken advantage of by a landlord at some point. When you see and utilize RentCheck’s solution, you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of this?” 

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