Rekeying locks on your properties, after the tenant leaves, can get tedious and expensive, inspiring too many property managers to skip the rekeying process entirely, opening themselves up to an uncomfortable amount of liability. Enter Prempoint: A comprehensive messaging, access control, and automation software that allows property managers to manage and grant access to their properties remotely.
In this episode we’re chatting with Matt Hartley co-founder and CEO of Prempoint about the newest technology in property management-keyless access. You’ll learn what the Prempoint technology is, how it works, and why you absolutely can’t run your business without it!
[2:20] All about Matt Hartley’s background and his work with Prempoint
[4:40] The evolution of Prempoint as a company and their mission
[7:35] What Prempoint is and why you absolutely need it for your properties
[11:05] The interaction between tenants and Prempoint
[13:25] How affordable is Prempoint?
[16:00] Subscribing to Prempoint “points”
[18:15] Discussing security concerns with Prempoint
[22:25] How keyless access can build (or destroy) trust with your tenant
[26:35] Being software agnostic: Why Prempoint outdoes the Rently competition
[30:10] Software integrations
[31:45] Why Matt Hartley doesn’t worry about copycats
[34:20] Are you in danger of being automated out of your job?
[37:00] Understanding the devices and technology that Prempoint requires
[40:20] Does Prempoint replace Sentrilock for relators that double as property managers?
[44:35] Prempoint’s launch date for managers with 1000s of doors
[49:55] Benefits of keyless access for tenants
[57:10] More from Matt Hartley
[58:30] Connecting with the Home app on iPhone
Want to talk to Matt personally? Send him an email: email@example.com
Jason: Welcome DoorGrowHackers to the DoorGrowShow. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors and expand your rent roll, and you are interested growing your business and life, and you are open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow Hacker.
At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to grow property management businesses and their owners. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, expand the market and help the best property managers win. If you enjoy this episode, do me a favor, open up iTunes, find the DoorGrowShow, subscribe, and then give us a real review. Thank you for helping us with that vision.
I’m your host, Property Management Growth Hacker, Jason Hull, the Founder of OpenPotion, GatherKudos, ThunderLocal, and of course, DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show.
This is episode number 20 of the DoorGrowShow. In this episode, I’m hanging out with Matthew Hartley of Prempoint.
Prempoint is this really cool solution to eliminate rekeying locks. This really, I believe, is the future and keyless entry, and in property management, it should exist, it makes so much sense.
Rekeying is just not done enough, so we get in to some of the stuff in the interview. The interview did not work through our normal system. I don’t know what was going on, the technology gods were against us that day or something. We moved it to the phone. This is a phone call between Matt and I. I think you’ll really gonna enjoy hearing about the future of keyless access for property management. Let’s go to the show.
This is Jason Hull. I’m hanging out here with Matt Hartley of Prempoint. Matt, I’m really excited to hear about this because it just looks like the future, it looks really cool. Tell us a little bit about you and how you got started with Prempoint.
Matthew: It’s been a journey, Jason, for sure. It’s been a journey. I’ve been in software for over 15 years working with companies like IBM, Cisco, CNN. Software is cool but it’s not the reason we started Prempoint.
It’s kind of two things that I really know together. I had a good friend of mine in South Florida that was selling security guard service for major condominiums. 2013 he came to me, he was like, “Matt, we need to do this new app. I got great app idea.” I’m like, “Oh, boy, here we go.” Jimmy and an app idea. It’s actually a really good idea because security guards, when they get up and do a patrol around the property, they use an antiquated technology called a tasksticks. It’s still used today believe it or not. All this is is a wand with a metal contact at the end of it. The security guard will go around and hit these plates, these checkpoints, he will hit them across the property that would record the time and date stamp that the security guard went around the property. He’s like, “Matt, we need to make that into an app.” I’m like, “That’s a great idea.”
At the same time, I was the Homeowners Association President in Delray Beach, Florida. Don’t ask why, I did it, I did it. One of the issues that I dealt with was managing vendors coming on off the property. I spent a significant amount of my time managing vendors, making sure that they did the work that they did. I was already working full-time. This is a part-time sort of volunteer job I was doing.
The concept of security guard checkpoint and be able to check in and checking out of a point, and being able to manage vendors remotely, coming on and off a property, we developed Prempoint. That’s how it came to be.
Jason: Cool. I love it. How long has this journey taken because I noticed on your website you have a patent. Tell me a little bit more about what Prempoint is and where it is now? How you got it there?
Matthew: Yeah. Prempoint has gone through a major evolution. It took us, I would say, a good solid three years to get to market. We went to market about a month and a half ago beginning at September this year 2016.
The reason why it took so long is because there’s a lot of technology that’s built into Prempoint. If you’re familiar Facebook or LinkedIn, we kind of built it that way so it’s easy to use, but all of that easiness took a lot of design, took a lot of infrastructure. We built it using the Google Cloud Platform. We don’t have any IT staff, we have zero. Because of that, because we use the Google Cloud to host our entire IT infrastructure, everything that we have in the backend is hosted in the Google Cloud. Highly scalable, which is great, and it cuts our cost down so we don’t have to hire a bunch of people right now to do it.
Because of all this infrastructure that we built in the application itself, it just took us a while, it took us about three years, from conception to where we are today. Through that, it’s gone through some crazy evolution. Originally, we were looking to go consumer. That was something we were looking at towards the late end of middle part of 2015. We realized consumers have not adopted the internet of things. Consumers are not buying smart locks. Some people are adopting, and some people are going and buying an [inaudible [00:06:31] lock. Some people are going to Home Depot and buying Wink, and SmartThings, and setting things up.
Matthew: But not many people. That’s when we realized Prempoint can’t be a consumer app. This has to be a business-to-business application. We really switched the gears on the company and we spent most of this year coming to market that’s targeting property management and real estate. Those are our two core segments that we’re hitting.
That’s kind of a journey. We really have had an evolution of a company trying to find the lowest hanging fruit. It’s come to pass that single family rental is the lowest hanging fruit next to vacation rental with Airbnb and VRBO.
Jason: Yeah. It makes a lot of sense.
Matthew: The content evolution, really kind of a long winded answer, but hopefully that kinds of explains it a little bit, but yeah it’s been a journey.
Jason: It’s really helpful. Explain what Prempoint is and what it does. Why should property managers be interested in this?
Matthew: Prempoint is a keyless access management system. I know it’s a lot in one sort of sentence but it’s truly is keyless access management. No more keys, no more physical keys, no more cards, no more codes. What we use is a messaging platform called Prempoint. Through that messaging platform, we’ve created integrations with connected things. Connected things could be door lock, it could be garages, automation hub, light bulb. We built around that an access control system so that you can easily and securely share access to a property with just a tap of your finger, like a private social network, like you connect on LinkedIn, you connect on Prempoint. You become a connection.
Once you become a connection, then I can grant and revoke access to what we call the point. A point is tied to a physical location or a physical property. That point can have so many different things there, it could have a door lock, it could have access to the garage, it could have access to light bulb in the kitchen. It has documents and media for work order and so forth.
If you can think of the case where I’m renting a property and it’s vacant right now, I’m doing either a showing or I need maintenance because the sink is leaking. Let’s use the sink leaking example. I’m not near the property, and I don’t have any other way. This is a new plumber that needs to go over there. I have never done business with him. I’m gonna have to typically get up, or someone on my staff’s gonna have to go over and meet the plumber at the house. But with Prempoint, you don’t have to do that. You can remotely monitor and give access, grant access to a point of that property. You could do it remotely. Then the vendor can check in. When they check in, the clock starts ticking so you know how long they’ve been there. You know immediately when they check in, and you know immediately when they’ve opened the door.
Because we’re a messaging platform, if you’ve ever used Facebook, you can definitely use Prempoint, now you can communicate in real time with the person that’s on the property and vice versa. They can communicate back with you. Every point is a social feed. A private social feed between the owner of the point and whoever they’ve shared it with, whoever they’ve granted access to go there. Any access event that occur, goes into the social feed. When the work is being performed or done, pictures can be taken, work orders can be uploaded to the feed, and all of those actions can be easily integrated into a backend system to automate work order processes, reporting processes, and what have you. Really an invent engine but built on a social premise.
Jason: Okay. Cool. This sounds really, really cool. Let’s talk about like a real use case for property managers. A property manager, you’ve mentioned, may need that, but where it gets really sticky is where tenants are involved. The tenant, who would be the owner of this point or this property, this lock, could this be the property manager? Then they could give access to the tenant?
Matthew: Yup. Great question. The way we’ve looked it in, and as we’ve done to be more familiar with single family rental, we’ll use that as an example. There’s three phases that we’ve seen, there’s the showing phase, there’s a maintenance phase, and then there’s a tenant move-in phase. That kind of cycles through; showing-maintenance-tenant, showing-maintenance-tenant. Prempoint really does well with maintenance as well as with showing.
The tenant key is something that we’re certainly going after to have the right solution. That’s something that we are working on right now to provide a digital tenant key that can be managed for specific devices. For example, I can share my device, as a property manager, with now this new tenant. Then that tenant gets a digital key. They’re not actually accessing a Prempoint. They’re not gonna be checking in and checking out of a Prempoint. They’re gonna be given permission for a set of devices at that property.
Matthew: Shared permission that can then be revoked by the property manager if the tenant leaves. That’s something that we’re working on right now. We do to the pieces is very well today, and it’s the tenant keys that we’re working on right now so that we can provide a full end-to-end solution for that maintenance, showing, and tenant keys.
Jason: Very cool.
Matthew: We also work with hardware companies that also provide an alternative to a key because our goal is to remove the key completely. But one of our companies that we work with called QuickLock, they have an RFID card.
Today, our solution can work with tenants by just giving them an RFID card like a hotel key, getting into the property.
Jason: Right. Let’s explore some of the benefits of this then for property managers because a lot of them have to rekey the property or they should be, everytime they do a turnover on a property. I imagine that gets costly to go and rekey the whole place. I would also wager to say that there’s a lot of property managers, even though they should be doing it, they just don’t do that.
Jason: Which increases liability and concerns for themselves. A lot of property managers that I think, one of their first questions’ gonna be, “Alright. How affordable is this? Is this something I could actually do on all of my units? Is this affordable?
Matthew: Our rekey today costs roughly around $99. If you looked at Mr. Rekey, which is one of the more popular locksmith, national locksmith…
Matthew: Yes. It’s a $99. I’m sure they have discounted program. They’re working with direct people, but typically the retail price is $99 to do a rekey. Depending on the property, you might have multiple doors that you’re rekeying after a tenant leaves.
Matthew: It might be a side door, a front door, entry way, and so forth. It could get up to $300-$400 per property just to rekey the entire property.
Matthew: There’s different solutions that people are using. We have two different types of Bluetooth locks today that we work with. One is from the Schlage, and that retails for $250. Another one is from our company that we work with out in Salt Lake City called QuickLock. QuickLock has a more cost-effective lock than Schlage. Both great locks, Schlage is a great company, their lock is amazing, the technology is amazing. Quicklock just has a cheaper, not as pretty, not as form factor as the Schlage, so that lock retails for $100. With just a simple rekey, ROI. The return on investment of a single lock that you buy from us at $100, every other rekey after that pays for the lock, pays for it. You do one rekey at $99 or you buy a QuickLock for $100.
Matthew: Then never rekey again. By the way, you get access to our software, our entire software platform which does all the real time messaging, access management and so forth.
Jason: Okay. How does your fee structure generally work for access to this software that leverage your platform on an ongoing basis?
Matthew: Yeah. Today, we do what’s about a dollar a point per month. That’s kind of how we do it. Let me explain what the point is again a little bit further. In Prempoint, you create what’s called a virtual access location. It’s basically a GPS map pen like you would see on Google Maps for one of your favorite location. But that point is tied to a property that you’re managing. You just find it on a map, you create the Prempoint, that point, you get two for free today. When you download the app, and you sign-up for an account at Prempoint, you get two points for free. That’s two properties anywhere in the world that you wanna manage for free today.
Matthew: Would you buy a lock for $100? You have only two properties? That’s your cost, you can’t beat it.
Matthew: A $100 lock? No. $100 lock and you can now manage remote access and have this very advanced but easy to use system? What we do is, after third point is $1 per point per month. It’s $1 per door basically.
Jason: Okay. Is a point just one door of a property? If there’s three doors, where’s the point to that property?
Matthew: The point is that property because you can have as many devices, as many documents, and as much media about that property on that point if you’d like. There’s no limit on how many devices you wanna share for that point. If I wanna put a door lock from garage, a back door, however many devices I wanna plan it, unlimited. You can share, have many devices you want on one point. If you have a property, that’s your standard single family property, you would just need one point and this is for all the devices and things that you wanna manage access for.
Matthew: It’s about documents and media.
Jason: A lot of property managers are using services like Rently and ShowMojo and some of these tools that can facilitate the scheduling and showing, and what not. These solutions have their digital lock boxes for vacant properties.
The challenge is one, lock boxes just look ugly and they send the red flag that the place is vacant for any property. They’re not something that you can keep on a property generally or if you don’t want to, a lot of times on a property that is not vacant. Getting access to vendors and things like this is always something that has to really be finely negotiated between the vendor and the tenant. That can be a challenge just to negotiate that. Ideally with this service, you’ll be able to, as the property managers say, “Hey, we can give the vendor access. Is this window of time okay? I know you’re gonna be at work. Do you have any problem with that?” They can say, “Sure.” Then they can set it up so that this vendor can just walk right up to the door, and it unlocks because of the vendor’s cellphone?
Matthew: Yup. That’s correct.
Jason: Okay. That’s really cool. There’s a lot of people that are still not using or leveraging any sort of lock boxes or digital lock boxes and their big concern is security, like what if somebody else gets access to this place? I’m liable as a property manager that I gave somebody access. How do you handle that question when people are really concerned about tenant privacy and security, and all these sort of concerns with this newer technology?
Matthew: Yup. There’s two things. When it comes to security and privacy for the tenants, that’s a much different discussion than the security for a vendor or even someone that might be a prospective tenant that’s going on the property. For those folks, you kind of lose a little privacy because you’re hiring them, or they wanna inspect your property. They’re not somebody that’s now signed a lease and sitting in the property. There’s a little bit of a difference there. I wanna make sure that that’s a distinction there because sure, a tenant deserve their privacy. They shouldn’t be having Big Brother watching them everytime the door is open.
Matthew: That’s not right. But for a vendor, that I just hired to go on with my property, I wanna know when you’re on my property. As a matter of fact, “Can you please take a picture of the work you did or a video and upload it to the feed? Oh, by the way, take a picture of the work order and upload it too so that we can streamline the processing and get you paid a lot quicker.” I wanna know all of that because I am Big Brother at that point. I wanna know that you’re on a property.
That’s where I was talking before the cycle of maintenance, showing, and tenant. The tenant keys is what we’re working on right now so that we can provide that digital key that’s not tracked but can be revoked by the property manager.
Jason: Oh, okay.
Matthew: Yeah. If there’s no tracking for the tenant, it’s almost like you would open up your phone, or your watch, and you just tap a button and it will unlock it. There’s no track. We’re not tracking how many times it’s opened, it’s literally just a credential that’s being sensitive and sense the door lock. But the property manager will have full control over who has shared access to that device.
Jason: This brings up maybe a question about legality. Say that a tenant wants to legally go after a property manager, and they wanna subpoena the information of when the property managers accessed the place because they feel like their rights have been infringed on. Can the property manager destroy data? Can they kind of circumvent that?
Matthew: Yes and no. Today, the way we kind of let the platform be, that’s a great question by the way, it’s a requirement that we can easily push into the system. But today, the owner of the point has control over all the feed item.
Matthew: Because you’re owning the point, it’s your access lock. You could literally delete all locks if you wanted to.
Jason: Right. I imagine at some point, this is new territory, it’s kind of unchartered waters.
Jason: At some point there will probably be some sort of legislation to dictate some of that stuff but right now it’s the Wild West. Yeah. Right now the property manager has control of what data shows, what access, records are there and that sort of thing. I’m sure a tenant could always subpoena it and you’ll still gonna be liable if you’re deleting or destroying data which I would never recommend somebody do.
But this also creates a protection and a safety for property managers because they can prove we were there at this time, we did do this at this time, the vendor did get access at this time. We do have a record, maybe in the future from the tenant giving permission for the vendor to access, that sort of thing.
Matthew: Yeah. I have not been asked that question yet. It really is a brilliant question because that’s gonna come up. As a matter of fact, I did a 1 Million Cups presentation this morning. If you’re familiar with 1 Million Cups, it’s an entrepreneur type presentation/networking group. But anyway it’s not to get to deep into that.
A woman came up to me and asked me a very similar question about privacy and about Big Brother, how do we handle that? How are we going to handle it? It’s interesting now that you’re asking the question I got asked this morning about this. It is the Wild West right now. It is the Wild West but maybe this is open opportunity for our company to know either there’s gonna be the question, and maybe take the bull by the horn, and try to spearhead the proper legislation for this. Because as I’m imagining at one point, someone’s gonna wanna say, “Hey. They didn’t come to the property.” Or “They did come to the property. The house completely overflowed when you told you should have gone there to fix the toilet and you never did.” Or, “We did go to the toilet, it was fixed. It was fixed on this time.” It’s an interesting thing and it’s something now I’m very conscious of as we move forward.
Jason: Yeah. Building up the tenant’s side, having the ability for the tenant to see portions of the stream that the property manager wants the tenant to have access to or that are relevant to a tenant might even make sense because then there’s this verification that that’s been done, work should’ve been done. For the property owner, who the property managers that acting on behalf of, having this data and showing that you’re getting work done is a great thing because the challenge that property managers have is that a lot of property owners just believe they don’t do anything.
When you can be the squeaky wheel and shout from the rooftops and say, “Hey, look. We just did this on the property.” “Hey, we just gave this under access.” “Hey, we just fixed the plumbing.” “Hey, we did this.” The owner is getting these notifications of some way or sort. Then that makes the property manager look like they’re just on the ball. They’re taking action and the owner feels even greater peace of mind that their property is being managed.
Matthew: Agreed, agreed. You had mentioned companies like Rently and ShowMojo. I’ll go back and take a second to address those companies.
Matthew: First of all, Rently is an amazing company. The fact they’ve pioneered the self-service showing market. It truly is a pioneering feat that they did in the need of great market traction with it. Here’s my concern about these technologies, the Rently technology, especially when we talk about lock boxes. But beyond lock boxes, we’re gonna come to a point in our technology cycle with connected things, lock boxes will become a thing of the past. I’m not trying to say that I don’t like lock boxes, or I love lock boxes, but a connected world will mean lock boxes won’t be needed anymore.
Matthew: When we built Prempoint, when we built it, we’re a software company. We are hardware agnostic. This is really important for everyone that’s listening to this podcast, because devices are gonna change, the technologies and how we connect to them, are gonna change. Software will have to adjust and adapt to those changes. We are a software company. We don’t produce hardware. We’re agnostic to it. As a matter of fact, we wouldn’t even connect to a test load vehicle one day, to share access to a test load vehicle.
Jason: Right. That would be cool.
Matthew: The reason why I say that is because, from a property manager’s perspective, there’s always gonna be this concern about, “What happens if the hardware changes?” Or, “I got lockbox today but now I wanna go to this other device.” “Oh, Matt. Well, listen. Now we’re doing this other device now. But how does your software gonna work with it?” That’s how we built it. We built to be hardware agnostic so that as the technologies change, your familiar interface of doing access management stays the same.
Today, just out of the box, not only do we connect with Bluetooth door locks from Schlage and QuickLock, and a company called Noke For Padlock but we also integrate with SmartThings and Wink. If you wanted to use Wi-Fi devices, we support that too. If you have a property for vacation rental, for example, and there’s a Wi-Fi at the unit, and you don’t wanna use Bluetooth, great, we have a solution for you. You can come into Prempoint and you can choose the right device at the right cost for you. That’s a huge difference of the model. It’s a very Google-ish type model.
Matthew: It’s the right model for property managers because it’s gonna save them money. That’s how it should be done. That’s why I want to address that because it’s a major difference between when you look at the ShowMojo or Rently, even though they are using lockbox technology today, they’re not device agnostic. As a matter of fact, Rently has invested in their own automation hub which might, with all due respect, I think was a big mistake because now they’re tied to that technology. They’re invested into it, they’re tied to it.
With Prempoint, you can go buy a Wink Hub for $60 at Home Depot and connects it right in. Huge, huge, big difference between companies and overall approach to software engineering and solution engineering.
Jason: Yeah. Another question I think a lot of property managers would really be interested in is the future of the Prempoint platform and integration.
Matthew: Yup. Integration’s always a challenge, because you have to do a lot of partners like AppFolio and so forth. You can work with these companies so that you can provide a true end-to-end solution. That is something that we want to do.
Today, we don’t have any integrations into any major property management software. But we can do it very easily. Not even a problem. I think sometimes the issue is convincing the AppFolios of the world, “Hey, listen. We wanna be an integration partner to you.” But we’re an open platform, meaning we will connect to anything, we’ll integrate to anything. As we gain more traction on the platform, I’m certain that we’ll be able to forge the right partnership to provide customers with the best end-to-end solution.
They can continue to use their back end systems like the AppFolios of the world, then they can use these new systems like Prempoint to do access management. All these access events get pumped into those system of records, and now you have a full sort of end-to-end solution with Prempoint sort of your field access management solution, and the AppFolios of the world are your system of records. We’re doing recording, and managing of your core property segments and so forth.
Jason: Yeah. Let’s bring up AppFolio. One of the challenges that a lot of vendors express is what AppFolio’s model sort of seems to be is that they look at the Rentlys, the ShowMojos, and the different software platforms that are out there, Night Tenders, and services. And then they try to make that in-house. That’s kind of their philosophy, it seems. Then, there’s a lot of different other software vendors where they’re more about integrating with their parties. Is this something that you see somebody can duplicate? How far does the path go? I have faith for you guys.
Matthew: Yeah. We’re not fully patented yet, we’re published at the US PPL. What we filed was a process. We filed a utility patent for social access management system. We’re very open about the patent, you can go and read through it, there’s a lot of content. But yeah sure, anybody could copy what we did. Facebook could copy what we did. Anybody can copy what we did. I think, the biggest reason why we filed a patent was really so that someone can’t tell us that we couldn’t do it.
This is a process that we invented, how Prempoint works, how it’s using access point in a social network to grant and revoke access to this what we call intermediary. In the patent, a point is represented by what’s a terminology called intermediary. That intermediary allows you to talk to entities. Entities would be like a Bluetooth door lock, a document, a video, those are entities in the intermediary. This is the point. Then, there’s a social network that’s granting and revoking access to the intermediary. This is our process, we invented it. Now, if someone wants to copy it, I guess that’s the biggest form of flattery we could get.
Matthew: You know what I mean? It truly is the biggest form of flattery, but that can’t be unless we’re like Google or Apple to stop that type of copying, it would be tough. But I will say, it took a lot of engineering to build Prempoint, it was a lot of work.
Jason: Sure. You’re already a step ahead.
Matthew: Right, right.
Jason: It would take them a while. Now, this is really cool. After our interview, we’ll have to connect later. There’s probably few vendors that I think would be really cool to connect you with, to get you partnering, and see what can happen.
Matthew: Yeah. We would love that. I’ve been fortunate, we’ve done a couple of conferences just recently in the last month and a half. We’ve met some really great people. Newer companies that are coming in to help automate property management. I know it sounds a little scary because it’s like you start to automate things, what’s gonna happen to my job? What’s gonna happen to the property managers? But taking that all away for a second, property management is gonna be fully automated. It will be fully automated. I firmly believe that. Prempoint, is only one piece to that puzzle by the way. There are other companies that have technologies today, newer companies, that are automating other aspects of property management.
Matthew: If we start putting it all together under one roof, you’re gonna have a pretty impressive system. For all the property managers listening, you might be able to sit on a beach and just push button, believe it or not.
Jason: Yeah. I know quite a few business owners they’ve got usually a lot of doors in their portfolio. But if business owners are able to have a business that runs itself without them, that’ll be even a greater realities for the smaller property manager that feels like they’re the biggest slaves to their business currently.
I did an interview with Steve, I believe it was of Real Trends, and he was talking about how the future of property management would really be won by the companies that leverage technology the most, because staff and people are just so costly.
I don’t think that property management business owners are too concerned about losing jobs. We’ve got countries like Australia where 80% of the properties are managed professionally. America’s nowhere near that. As legislation increases, its liability increases, you’re going to see the relevance and need for property managers to increase but it also means they will need to be leveraging tools and technology that is following these rules and these guidelines effectively.
This is really an exciting time to see all this stuff coming out, and to see some of these pieces starting to merge and move together and to integrate through APIs, or to connect. I’ve got a few questions here that people have posted online that I’ll ask if you’ve got a few more minutes?
Matthew: Yeah, absolutely.
Jason: Okay. Cool. One question, does the lock require a hub and associated active internet service at the locations where it is installed?
Matthew: Yes and no. If it’s a Bluetooth lock that’s supported on our platform and we have a few of them, the answer is no. If you wanna use home automation hub from Wink or SmartThings, then the answer is yes. We have a list of all the devices that we support on our platform. It really is up to you.
Again, kind of coming back full circle orbit on what I was saying before, we built the platform where we’re hardware agnostic. You can choose between an offline type of device like a Bluetooth door lock that doesn’t require any Wifi or network connectivity, or you can use a Wifi device like home automation hub from Wink or SmartThings. You can use any Z-Wave, if anybody is familiar with Z-Wave technology. Z-Wave technology is a connected home technology that’s been around for a long time. But you can use a whole bunch of locks from Schlage, QuickSet, and what have you, off of a home automation house like SmartThings and Wink. But yes, those require Wifi.
Matthew: You have a choice and that’s the great thing.
Jason: With the Bluetooth lock, which is probably what most property manager would be interested in so it’s not internet dependent, do these require batteries?
Matthew: They do. The battery life, which is great on these devices, it’s typically two years. Everytime the door lock is opened, what we do in our software is we actually drop into the private social feed the battery life. You’re constantly getting notification everytime that door’s open on what the battery life is. Not to mention, the hardware itself tells you when the battery’s down.
But the software is telling you everytime the door is unlocked, you will see it when it gets below 30%, we highlight it in red, we send out a notification too. We’re telling you everytime. As long as you’re following, doing some form of due diligence to change the battery while you’re getting notified, it shouldn’t be any issue. But if there is the case where it unlocked, the battery has died, Schlage, built an amazing cool technology. They have a jump start. You can take a 9-volt battery. If battery died on the Schlage lock, the control, it’s called Schlage control, it’s one of the locks we innovate with. You can just take a 9-volt battery, plug it right up to it, jump start the lock, unlock it with your phone. Really cool stuff.
Jason: Okay, great.
Jason: They’re less likely to get locked out if they lose their keys. They won’t have to worry about losing their keys.
Matthew: No more. Yeah. No more keys. As long as they don’t lose their phone.
Jason: Right. I’d rather lose my keys than my phone, I think, a lot of times. I think we’ve gone through some of these other ones. Is it comparable to the Sentrilock, etcetera, that realtor’s associations use?
Matthew: Yeah. Good question. No. Sentrilock is a lock box. It’s a digital lock box or electronic lock box. Sentrilock is partly owned by the National Association of Realtors, so no. What we’re using is an actual deadbolt bluetooth lock that goes on whereas Sentrilock is a lock box.
Jason: If a lot of property managers are of the real estate agents. Would they be able to keep the same locks on the doors and not have to use the Sentri, or would they still need the Sentri situation for real estate, and MLS purposes if the properties are going up for sale?
Matthew: Yes. Another great question and certainly one that we can digress on for a while. You probably know this, Jason, that MLS, the regional MLS that’s across the United States, is very…
Jason: They’re all different.
Matthew: Yeah. They’re all different. They all have their own rules and regulations and so forth. We’re addressing that political nature of the real estate sales side because Sentrilock and Supra, which are the two most common, universal access solutions for property sales and for a property rental.
Matthew: The keyword is universal. They’re used everywhere in the United States. As much as you may or may not like a lock box, every MLS in United States supports Supra and Sentrilock.
Matthew: Yeah, that makes it difficult. To get a new access technology, we have to go through a process, we have to go through an education. As a matter of fact, our CTO, Paul Ward, is gonna be at the Real Estate Standards Organization on October 24 teaching Prempoint to over 60 executives of major brokerages including Keller William, CIO Executive, and some of the major regional MLSs, and their executives and CIOs. It’s a great opportunity for us because we need to go, we know that we need to get our technology approved, we know there will be some hurdle.
Matthew: There’s gonna be some hurdle but it’s something we gotta do, it’s something that the real estate industry needs to look at. I know that they’ve looked at August lock, their technology in the past. But August lock doesn’t have an application like Prempoint. August lock is their app in the August lock, that’s all you get. That’s not gonna work for a property manager. That’s not gonna work for a realtor. They need a platform like Prempoint that works with any device and allows you to do documents and media and manage the property. Whereas the August lock wasn’t done for property managers, it was done for consumers.
Our technology, our software really makes a huge difference. We’re hoping that’s gonna make a difference when Paul goes and talks to these folks on the 24th and we’d pitch our technology. If we’re fortunate to win best of show there, that would be amazing.
We’re also going to the National Association of Realtors Show in the first week of November up in Orlando. We’ll be there talking to a bunch of different brokers, realtors, and property managers because there’ll be property managers going through there. But we have a little bit of uphill road there but I’m confident that the industry is ready to start moving into connected technology. I know that the National Association of Realtors has a lab in Chicago, and they’re already looking at the internet of things. They’re already diving into, “How can we do connected home technology so that we can streamline access?” I already know they’re looking at it. It’s just a matter of navigating the politics. There’s a lot of politics, rules and regulations. It’s gonna be a bit of a challenge but we’re looking forward to it.
Jason: Yeah. No, this is exciting stuff. Is this something that’s ready right now for property managers to have a decent size portfolio could call you guys up and get going on?
Matthew: No, no. Today we support probably about 50, maybe 75 doors. The reason why is because there’s a few things we’re doing to the platform over the next three months to support a property manager that has a ton of doors. That’s just being candid. I would never sell Prempoint today to a property management company that’s got 1,000 doors. What I would say to them, I’d say, “Listen, we can’t support 1,000 doors today because we’re working on technology to handle that amount of doors. Otherwise, the app will fail.” We tried to search and pulled down 1,000 points. We’re working on that. It’s high on our road map. As a matter of fact, it will be done in the next three months. That’s how much of a priority it is for us. But today, I would never go and sell it. As a matter of fact, we’re working on offline capabilities so you can work in any applications completely offline.
But I would never sell it. I would go to a larger company. I would say, “Listen, why don’t you try 20 doors with Prempoint? Give it a shot. If that will work, great. Then we can do a pilot with you and we’ll work with you. Once our platform is ready here in the next three months, then we can start pulling up more doors and start migrating onto a true keyless access maintenance system.” But being candid, I would never sell to a large property management company because we would look like fools.
Jason: Okay. It sounds almost like you’re kind of open or looking for some pioneers to kind of beta test to the property managers that can give you feedback and help align this towards what their business model is.
Matthew: 100%. It’s almost a great opportunity where the property manager knows, they would love to have a true keyless environment. This is an opportunity to definitely come work with us at our stage right now where we can pull in requirements for your business. Get them in there so that they’re done and ready to go.
Certainly, a smaller property management company, I know we have a few of them right now, they’re using Prempoint. They have like 20 doors, 15 doors that they’re managing. They’re having good success with it. It’s kind of interesting where we’re at in terms of the overall technology but absolutely, if a larger company want to come in and test it out with us, so we can put in some requirements, get the right things going, we would be more than open to pull it.
Jason: Yeah. It sounds really cool. I’ll probably push a couple of people your way that you can use as guinea pigs and get going through this process. Yeah. I agree with you. This sounds like this is the future, this is really where our things are headed and everyone’s really kind of been waiting for something like this to happen. It really does need to be driven by an industry rather than by a consumer, all of that makes a lot of sense. What a great competitive advantage a property manager would have to mention that they’re the first in their market with this really cool new tech.
Matthew: Correct, 100%, 100%. I totally agree. It would be a competitive advantage. As a matter of fact, a competitive advantage for realtor on the sales side.
Matthew: Homeowners, they don’t want a lock box on their house. Now, what’s happening is we’re fighting against an industry that has the certain process. When you have customers, many of them don’t like the process, but they do it because that’s the process. It’s crazy. It’s kind of an interesting and crazy thing but now I get it, because maybe the technology wasn’t quite there, the technology’s here now. It’s here.
Now, the industry really needs to take a look at it and get it because at the end of the day, it’s the homeowners, the customer that’s selling the house or the customer that’s renting their house and they’re hiring a property management company. It’s those folks that are looking for security. They’re looking for security, they don’t want their keys to their $1 million home, or $500,000 home sitting in a lock box for anybody to tamper with. I do believe the time is now. We’re hoping that. To be honest, we’re hoping that.
Jason: Yeah. I foresee that by targeting the property management industry, that really could start to create a pull effect on the real estate or brokerage side because there’s such a close relationship between those two often. The property management industry doesn’t have as much legislation that will be connected to this and would need it even more. I think that could really drive it, initially. Then, you’d get all these realtors saying, “Hey, we use this on our property management site, why can’t we have this?” There would be sort of this pulse where which brings up in my mind, what about on the renter or the tenant side?
I’m renting a property. I’m in SoCal. My landlord, I hate having to be here just so that it’s evening or something, my wife doesn’t wanna have to deal with it, we’d rather just be out, go out to eat or something while a plumber or somebody comes to take care of stuff but we either have to make sure that the landlord’s here, she’s gotta drive over or something like this. You would mention that you get two points included in the software, will this be something that the vast majority of the properties out there are not professionally managed, they’re probably people that have one, maybe two doors, and rentals. Would this be something that renters could say like myself and say, “Hey, landlord, I’m gonna go get this digital lock and this software and would you be willing to work with me on this?”
Matthew: Interesting. It’s a very interesting approach. Why not? At that point, the renter’s getting an access technology, an access to management technology that they can leverage to let people into the home, like their cleaning lady. If I’m renting a home, I might want a cleaning woman or a cleaning service, or a cleaning man, whatever, come to the home. I might wanna let them in, how can I do that? Well, they create their own Prempoint with the technology that’s there and they share it with the cleaning lady.
Jason: Yeah. Or my mom might wanna stop by, “Hey, I’m gonna come over babysit the kids.” Here, let me give you access. Then I can see who I’m giving access to as a tenant. As you’re billing up the tenant side, that might be some interesting things to think about because that would be really cool. If I went to see a property and if it’s managed by a property management company and they said, “Look at this really cool system that you’re gonna get access to. You’re gonna just walk up with your iPhone, the door’s gonna unlock. You can set it up in the app and give certain people access either your family members or whatever, and we will only keep track of people that you select as vendors, or whatever.” However, you set this up.
But I think that the consumer can create a pull on things as well because the renters are the ones that would talk, they’re the ones that give companies reviews and this really can have a good impact on the property management businesses from the renter’s side. If the renters don’t like it, then it’s a nightmare.
Matthew: It is true. I talked to a property management companies, I’ll leave them nameless right now, but they’re a fairly large property management company. There was an interesting thing I said because I was talking about the fact that management… I was talking to them about Prempoint, our solution. I asked them because this has come up to us before, I’m like, “Let me ask you. Do you have any problems with the fact that you’d have to use your phone as a key? Are you any concerned that your prospective tenants won’t even have a phone?” Because that’s where that starts getting an issue, that’s where tenants would start saying, “Ah, this is not good because maybe they don’t have phone.” I said, “You know what, man, I gotta be honest with you. If they don’t have a smartphone, they’re probably not a qualified candidate for us.”I go, “Well, that’s really interesting.”
Jason: Yeah. I live in San Bernardino county. I live in a nice area. But San Bernardino county, per capita in the US is one of the highest poverty areas in the US. There’s some really bad areas. I live up on a hill, I’m fortunate to live in a nice location, it’s SoCal, which isn’t cheap but it’s not too far where the San Bernardino shootings were and some of the craziness happens. There’s properties there that my dad who’s doing property management here in The Inland Empire would not probably ever take on to manage properties for stuff like this. But everybody has a smartphone.
I see kids on the playground, I see homeless people with smartphones. Everybody seems to be able to get an iPhone somehow nowadays. If they only have one thing, it’s gonna be that, usually. I don’t think that there’s really the issue that people don’t have phones. I mean it’s probably possible with the older crowd, maybe they won’t have a smartphone, but I’ve got plenty of people that have smartphones, in my family that are older, or iPads or any of this kind of technology.
Some of them might have a little bit of challenge and go, “What? How do we get into your house? From the phone?” But I think most people wouldn’t have an issue. But I think the market that really will do well with this are the higher rent markets where this would be easy. It just makes sense. I’ve got a property manager who has some big multi-family units in the DC area. This is right up his kind of alley where he says, “All of our properties we put Nest thermostats in,” this was few years ago, maybe he’s doing the cooler ecobees or whatever is out there. But he was like, “We put all this stuff,” they’re into being at the forefront, because their properties are luxury properties.
People that are managing properties in coastal areas, big cities, or they have nicer properties or even nice condo units or anything like this. This sort of thing just really makes sense and would really add value and be an easy sell and really make renters say, “This is really cool.” I guarantee, if a renter goes and looks at 10 properties, they’re gonna remember the one that has the cool Bluetooth phone access.
Matthew: A-huh. It’s interesting. Yeah. They probably will. You were mentioning large properties, and this is the great thing about technology. This happened with Google. When Google became the way to advertise online, for online advertising, it levels the playing field for the smallest businesses of the world, to go in market to the largest of groups of people. It was amazing.
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Matthew: I’m not saying Prempoint is anything near Google. I’m not even saying that at all but what I am saying is Prempoint does level the playing field for smaller property managers to provide the same level of service, if not even better, than some of the larger property management companies. That’s the beauty of software, that’s the beauty of technology, that’s the way it should be.
Jason: Right. I think that’s a fantastic point to end on. Tell everybody that’s listening to this later, how can they get a hold of you and who are you hoping to contact you?
Matthew: Interesting, what a good question. To get a hold of us you can go to our website and certainly look at our webpage which is www.prempoint.com.
If you wanna get ahold of me personally, I’m pretty open with our email it’s just firstname.lastname@example.org, you can send me an email and just write me.
I want somebody that’s really interested to do this, that they see the value, that they wanna give it a shot, because the investment, to play with it, it’s minimal. A lock for a couple hundred dollars, an app for free for up to two properties, it’s a no-brainer. I want anybody to contact, anybody that contacts says, “You know what, I wanna get a lock inside this house.” I’d be like, “You got it. Let’s get it, let’s do it.” That’s the person, those are the folks that I want just to contact us because I really truly believe in evaluating software. I’ve been doing it for years.
People need to evaluate software. I do not wanna sell something unless you like it. If you don’t like it and it doesn’t provide value, you should not use it, at all. I want the people who wanna learn, who wanna figure it out, see if it works for them. If it does, great, we want you to be our customer. We would love it. But if there’s anybody that’s looking to kick the tires, send me an email.
Jason: Sounds great. I wanna ask one more question. One thing that I think is really gonna drive this is that so many people have iPhones. All of a sudden, on this new iOS, I have this new app called Home. They pushed this out. I was looking at this now and I never considered doing any sort of internal home stuff, it always looked cool but I thought, that’s some sort of luxury, I don’t really need. But then I found myself looking at that app and then I was going on Google and trying to find what can integrate with this because this sounds really cool and now the mainstream, it’s on my iPhone. Is this something you see down on your road map that it’s gonna connect with this somehow?
Matthew: Yes. When you look at Home which is basically home kit, which is the API that Apple built in for doing Nest networking in a home, large connected things in connected home. But you also have technologies like Nest. The Nest has their own technologies for connecting a home. The answer is yes, absolutely. There’s so many different technologies out there, the mainstream technology is the way. That’s the mainstream connected technology for a home, it’s the way.
But now, Apple Home kit has what they’re pushing. Google and Nest have what they’re pushing. This actually steals now it’s even more disparity when it comes down to it. The way we wanna handle it, to be completely honest, we wanna work with hardware manufacturers that implement those technologies because we wanna believe that agnostic for the customers. The customers should not care that it’s Home kit, you should not care that it’s Nest, it should just work. The way to do that is the software shield it, Prempoint would shield it, and we integrate with hardware companies that are doing some of that integration as well. That’s the right way to do it at the end of the day. The answer is yes, but in a way that’s working through in a way of partners.
Jason: Yeah. By Apple doing this, they’ve kind of thrown down the gauntlet, said, “Hey, home automation is now mainstream at something everybody should be looking into.” People are now starting to look for, “What can I plug in to this cool new iPhone app in iPhone that I have?” It’s gonna drive that, and being the property manager in your market, that is the first to really leverage that technology really says a lot about your company. It says, “We are the forefront of technology. We’re gonna leverage technology to lower our cost and lower the cost for you. We’re gonna make sure that we have things recorded, we have data, that we’re on top of things.” This is really what they’re looking for is peace of mind. Everybody’s touting to have technology but few will have something like this, at least initially. It’s always fun and exciting to be the early adopter and have that. It gives you bragging rights at NARPM Conference, if anything.
Matthew: If anything.
Jason: Yeah. Cool. It’s been really fun to have you Matt, don’t be a stranger, it will be fun to see how you guys progress with the tenants and everything else. We will have to have you back on when you’re ready to announce some of that.
Matthew: I would love to come back on. Jason, we really appreciate the opportunity. Let us know the link to this podcast, we’d love to send it out to our network so that they can listen to it as well.
Jason: Of course, of course. Alright, thanks Matt. I will let you go.
Matthew: Bye-bye now.