By Jack Stubbs
In the current commercial real estate tech boom, many companies in Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound region are continually striving to integrate technology into their products in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve.
Lubn Inc., a platform founded in Bellevue in 2016, is a property management solution that integrates technology as a means to streamline the property management industry for realtors, property managers and service providers, among other industry professionals. We recently spoke with YC Chung, co-founder and CEO of Lubn, about the main features of the product, what it helps industry professionals to accomplish, and where the company is headed.
What can you tell me about Lubn (when and where the platform was founded, current goals of the company, etc.)? In general terms, how is Lubn participating in the property management industry?
Lubn was founded based on my belief that everyone deserves to have the freedom to easily manage their properties and live their lives to the fullest…I was determined to solve the logistical problems of property management. My co-founders and I established Lubn in Bellevue in 2016, [and] our goal was to create a platform that would enable property managers to easily and intelligently manage their properties from anywhere [and] at any time.
Lubn is a remote access control platform made of LubnBox (the world’s first 4G smart key box) and Lubn App. Combined, our intelligent system can securely manage property access and automate the management of a variety of services that save precious time and money.
How does Lubn’s location in Bellevue influence its overall strategy? What are some of the trends in the property management industry occurring in the Puget Sound region, and how does Lubn hope to contribute to these trends?
Lubn is based in Bellevue, [and] we will operate in the U.S. as our initial launch market. We are primarily targeting “bnb” hosts, property managers, and realtors.
Seattle is currently the fastest-growing tech hub in the U.S., and [has] one of the hottest real estate markets in the U.S. This is further emphasized by the fact that our area is the birthplace of companies like Zillow and Redfin, which means the residents here are accustomed to the digital real estate marketplace. All of these factors make our location strategically perfect for our solution.
In the current CRE tech (commercial real estate tech) day and age, successful products and platforms are those that are intuitive to use. Is there a steep learning curve associated with Lubn? How does the underlying software ensure that the product itself is accessible by a wide range of users, perhaps those less familiar with tech-based products?
I’ve spent over 15 years helping companies like Microsoft create user-centric product experiences. I believe in creating experiences where the technology is invisible [to allow] the users to fully focus on the intuitive experience. We have designed LubnBox and Lubn App to be extremely user friendly, with no complex installations or steep learning curve.
What are the potential privacy or security issues associated with property management that Lubn addresses? How will Lubn evolve its software over time to proactively address these less controllable—and higher-stakes—issues?
Protecting privacy and security is very important to us. One of the unique benefits of the Lubn solution is that the property owner or manager will be notified when the assigned guest has checked-in or out. However, Lubn does not track the daily in or out of the guest, which protects their privacy.
For security, our platform has a three layer verification process that ensures each property access transaction is secure between the owner/manager, and the guest. Our chief technology officer is an expert in network security. We plan to continuously evolve the Lubn platform to proactively address these ongoing issues based on our product roadmap planning and execution.
What are some of the challenges Lubn faces in terms of staying ahead of the curve and of other competitors? How will Lubn ensure that it is integrating the most current technology in its algorithms? Why should industry professionals choose Lubn over other property management solutions?
The market for on-demand access control is huge and growing. Our unique proposition is anchored around ease of use, flexibility/portability, and, most importantly, the intelligence or AI technology integrated into the product. As our product gets used, the platform becomes more intelligent; the owner will be better informed to make smarter decisions for their property. Our biggest opportunity is to grow our team so we can leverage these learnings, evolve our platform with the latest technology and address the problems that our customers care most about.
Given today’s CRE tech-saturated market, there are continuously products coming to the market that seek to successfully integrate efficient technology—with tech-at-your-fingertips now more of the norm rather than the exception. How does Lubn contribute to or disrupt this trend?
We are contributing to this trend and, in many cases, offering a unique solution that will disrupt the entire ecosystem. For instance, our solution not only signals the check-in/out activities to the owner. Lubn also has a built-in feature that allows automated services to be easily linked to each check-in/out activity with any service providers of your choice (i.e. Cleaning, Staging, Painting, etc.). Over time, the collective system will simply get smarter through the power of business intelligence and AI. We believe that this is a real game-changer for the industry, and a meaningful value proposition to the industry.
Can you elaborate upon the services that Lubn provides professionals in the real estate industry in particular? In your view, what is the current state of property management, and what do you foresee looking forward?
We plan to stay focused on delivering on our core mission, which is allowing property managers and real estate professionals to easily manage access and services to multiple properties at any given time and place. Giving our customers back the time they deserve is the fundamental value. Looking forward, our back-end services will become more intelligent over time to address deeper vertical-based solution automations, as this is a huge area of growth for both the industry and Lubn.
Based on our user research and interviews with many real estate professionals, we understand that getting a property ready for the market requires a lot of work to be successful. Many people need to get in and out of the property in order to provide their services. Lubn enables the real estate agent to manage the service providers without needing to be there. Lubn gives the time back to the real estate agents so they can help more clients and potentially get more deals done.
Moving forward, Lubn is very interested in having service providers partner with us. Our goal is to connect service providers with agents or managers. This creates more opportunities for the service providers and helps the agents and managers facilitate property management.