Meet the Real Estate Tech Founder: Rowland Hobbs from Stake
In our latest real estate tech entrepreneur interview, we’re speaking with Rowland Hobbs from Stake.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a recovering Fortune 500 CEO consultant and 3x founder. I believe in building companies with purpose to make people’s lives better. My current company, Stake, invests in renters. We save landlords money—from overpaying for marketing, broker, and concession costs—when our renters move in, pay on-time, and renew. We share those savings with the renter by matching up to 10% of the rent payment every month. Renters can save the rent matches up and earn more, or transfer it to their bank and use it as they like. We call this Return on Rent and it’s the first loyalty network for rentals.
What problem does your product/service solve?
The rent is, as has been said “too damn high,” and renter’s can’t save for the things they love. It feels like throwing money away each month with each rent payment. With more people renting than at any other time in the last fifty years this is now a society wide challenge to build equity and savings. Meanwhile, property owners spend $13 billion annually on inefficient discounts and marketing that don’t reward the renter. The result today? Still $28 billion of lost revenue in vacancies every year. Stake is building the first loyalty network, powered by rewards, data and digital payments, to make this spend more efficient for the owner and impactful for the renter.
What are you most excited about right now?
We’ve built an incredibly simple and easy to use app that converts marketing, concession, and broker fees into a powerful Rent Match that rewards renters. However, this is just the beginning of how we build loyal, dedicated, renters who love where they live. We are introducing perks and member only benefits such as free and reduced cleaning services, and more. Renting is tough. First we’ve made renting easier on your wallet, and now we will make everyday by renting.
What’s next for you?
In our Brooklyn Beta Test we are listing 125 apartments a week, from over 30 property owners, and reach 4,000 renters who are moving into Stake apartments. That’s a lot of potential returns for renters, and savings for owners. We will be moving into new neighborhoods in New York, but even more exciting is our plans to reach a second city by year’s end. This means more renters saving, more owners spending to reward renters rather than marketers, and a bigger network of apartments with Return on Rent.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
Community is important to me. We should all flourish and feel safe and secure where we live. This month, it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots which were a turning point in to create a more just, inclusive, society for the LGBTQ community. While we’ve made incredible progress in fifty years, we have much we need to do as a society to protect, and promote, everyone. That’s why I’m passionate about causes like the Anti Violence Project which is working to end hate-crimes and support survivors with advocacy and counseling.
Thanks to Rowland for sharing his story. If you’d like to connect, find him on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop me a line (drew @ geekestatelabs dot com).