By Meghan Hall
Vero Leasing is a cloud-based platform designed to enable those within the multifamily industry to complete lease applications in a more streamlined manner. As more transactions move entirely online through the use of technology, The Registry spoke with Vero’s Co-Founder and CEO Lou Baugier on how new innovation can help tenants and landlords alike.
Can you please tell The Registry a little bit about Vero Leasing? What specific pain points within the industry were you looking to solve as you created the platform?
Since its founding in 2018, Vero has modernized and successfully improved the leasing process for multifamily real estate leaders, including renters, property owners, property managers, leasing agents, and realtors. Vero Leasing’s cloud-based platform automates the application and leasing process into one seamless on-the-go workflow. Built to streamline the historically cumbersome and inefficient residential leasing process, Vero’s intuitive, user-friendly platform and mobile tools offer an entirely paperless process delivering unprecedented speed and ease and a seamless and secure method for applying to and leasing apartments. The platform can also confirm the financial history of applicants and existing renters instantly so owners can have confidence in their deals.
Vero states that it streamlines the leasing process using “intuitive mobile tools.” Can you talk about some of these tools and the impact they have on the leasing process?
Vero’s workflow was designed by industry experts, for industry experts. This distinction is what makes our technology best-suited for the job at hand— modernizing a process renowned for its frustrating pain points within an industry renowned for its slow adoption of technology.
We’ve created a modern tool designed to empower property owners and managers by streamlining their day-to-day while safeguarding their bottom line. Vero’s interface is easy to navigate and easy to understand, meaning it won’t take users multiple tutorials or an excruciating learning curve to start using Vero effectively. Most importantly, we’ve stacked our workflow with the end-user’s needs top of mind. This includes a 20-minute applicant-to-residency screening process, same-week document upload, on-boarding support, real-time reporting, and more.
Vero also states that its technology is able to verify renter identity, employment and income. How does this tech go deeper than the typical background check, and why is this aspect of the technology so important to landlords today?
Vero’s patent-pending technology offers insights far beyond a routine background check. Vero’s workflow paints a complete picture of a prospective renter without the heavy lifting — validating income, employment, assets, identity, credit, criminal background, and eviction history—in real-time. Plus, Vero uses the same institutional-grade security protocols as Venmo and American Express.
Vero recently announced the close of a $3.2 million seed funding round. How is Vero planning to use its funds? Why?
Since closing on our last round of seed funding, we’ve been able to execute on a shared vision to remove needless friction from the leasing experience. We’ve also allocated capital to expanding our team and delivered an enterprise version of Vero’s platform.
As more CRE-related tech comes to market, how will Vero differentiate itself from the competition?
At Vero, we believe our differentiation—and ultimately, our success—will be derived from a foundational belief in actively listening to our customers and demonstrating a thoughtful, informed response. It’s easy to get caught in an internal feedback loop. This myopic view will most of the time stunt growth and limit the potential for developing useful, genuinely cutting-edge technology. At Vero, we’re continually seeking out those conversations which broaden our view of the landscape and allow us to explore every angle. For example, our Income & Asset Verification tool stemmed directly from a call for help from owners struggling to determine who could or could not afford rent amid COVID-19. As a result, we provided a tool that served as a tailor-made, immediate solution to our consumer’s most pressing need. Despite the increasing market saturation, this proactive approach to consumer-relations, coupled with thoughtful development and design, will ultimately allow us to continue to outpace the competition.
On a general note, how has the current pandemic impacted the need for tech-based solutions such as Vero?
Since March, the need for tech-based solutions has nothing short of skyrocketed. More than ever before, technology has become an essential part of the commercial real estate market and, in particular, the leasing process. Whether it’s applying for an apartment through Vero or touring a residence virtually— today, the entire process is predicated upon the real estate industry’s ability to leverage technology successfully.
Has Vero seen its usage increase as a result? If so, by how much?
Vero has definitely experienced a surge in usage. There are two main reasons for that— first, technology tools within the leasing process have been crucial to closing deals amidst an ongoing pandemic. It is no longer efficient (and nearly impossible) to close a deal without using some form of technology like Vero. Second, usage has increased because we have tailored our product to serve as a specific solution to problems stemming from the pandemic. Owners leverage our Income & Asset Verification tool to quickly and accurately determine residents’ financial status—eliminating the guesswork, the risk, and the paperwork.
Looking ahead, how do you see the CRE and multifamily markets evolving as a result of new technologies?
The real estate industry is headed in a new direction. Every facet of the industry faces unprecedented change and a groundswell of new proptech as a result. How this tech is ultimately adopted will determine how the markets continue to evolve.
This challenging environment provokes multifamily owners to find more effective methods for screening applicants and efficiently converting qualified leads to renters, on the go and on the spot. Effective, viable technologies will guide how these processes change, shift to modern on-demand expectations, and evolve long-held inefficiencies into new best practices.
Is there anything else you would like to add that The Registry did not ask or mention?
A final point worth noting—and a pain point oftentimes overlooked—is the renters’ right to a safe, secure and transparent leasing application process. Antiquated processes, including commonplace methods like sending unencrypted data via email, are not only extraordinarily inefficient but they also put renters’ personal and financial data at risk unnecessarily. At Vero, we found this vulnerability of data both inexcusable and highly avoidable and as a result, we introduced institutional-grade security protocols (used by the world’s leading fintech companies like Visa, Paypal and American Express) to protect a renter’s privacy. We’re proud to offer a platform like Vero that empowers the renter while modernizing the process to benefit both parties.