PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: tlyfe App empowering tenants to prove their reputation | Cedar raises $3m to take on US housing crisis

Andrew Stanton’s daily PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’ in association with Estate Agent Networking and News Now.

tlyfe tenant App proves to be winning combination for tenants and letting agents

Full disclosure – I have in my role as a consultant to Proptech Founders been involved with Adam Pigott CEO of Openbrix/tlyfe and the rest of his team for some years. At present their tenant centric tlyfe App is scaling up, and whilst it is ostensibly a digital tool that in Adam’s words is ’empowering tenants to prove their reputation’ it also has some great hidden benefits for lettings agents too.

The following contains some content from a close friend and advocate of anything useful in the Lettings vertical Chris Watkin, who earlier this year took the time to record a piece on video about tlyfe with Chair John Hards FRICS FARLA, Adam Pigott Co-founder & CEO, and COO Sandra Donovan. Plus other material from various sources.

For anyone reading this who has not heard what tlyfe is, CEO Adam Pigotts‘ three paragraph summation pretty much covers it, ‘tlyfe is a tenant facing and tenant centric App, it allows a tenant  to verify their ID, their right to rent and their right to work, it allows them to pre-qualify themselves, something that is very new.’

‘It is like an employee putting together a CV for an employer to sell themselves, tlyfe effectivelay allows a tenant to sell their suitability to a Landlord, proving their ID, their right to rent, and a full comprehensive reference on themselves all sitting inside the tlyfe App, so they just open their digital wallet and tlyfe does the talking.’

‘And what is even better is that the tenant keeps all of this information locked up, and if and when they want to the share it they can with an access code so a letting agent can download all the information downloads, and it can be backed by a rental warranty provided by Paragon insurance that can be purchased separately.’

Adam goes on to explain also that a rent log showing a tenants rental payment history can also be given, a verified history via a partnership with CreditLadder and the credit reference agencies. Which means a tenant can pre-viewing say here look at my last 18-months of payments.

Andrew Stanton, ‘From my perspective, dealing with a lot of software companies looking to get from MVP to exit, many in the lettings sector, tlyfe executes a number of thorny problems for stakeholders in the industry, not least as it is the tenant who pays for the service, holds their own data, and can help letting agents in many key ways. Also a tlyfer tenant will as numbers increase become perhaps the gold standard for what a great tenant looks like.’

Chair John Hards, who in a former role headed up the lettings operations of Countrywide (PLC) for 35-years comments that, tlyfe creates efficiencies and streamlines operations, the … ‘‘Benefit for letting agents is that it cuts out error, names/emails of tenants being recorded incorrectly… it can feed straight into a CRM if required, it reduces the viewing to let ratio, it does away with a human having to qualify a tenant, saves time … and you find the best two or three tenants … (for the landlord/let).

The point John is making is that often there is a pool of would-be tenants, it could be ten or fifty people who all want to rent one property. This often involves humans taking details from this group, which takes time, and often errors of name or email and contact details creep in, then they have to be part qualified prior to doing anything else. With tlyfe, the field can be narrowed as the tenants volunteer all of their background in a verified format. Which means less viewings with higher calibre tenants.

Compliance which is also key is fully part of the genius of the App as COO Sandra Donovan explains, ‘many (letting agents) fall wide of the mark’ when it comes to compliance issues. With tlyfe all is covered, but more importantly if court action is required many actions against tenants fail at the first hurdle, as the correct name and details of the tenant have not been used, meaning further costs and more loss for the landlord.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme logo

Andrew Stanton, ‘The reason I really like tylfe which is heavily backed by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), is that it gives power to the tenant and at the same time stops layers and layers of duplicated data being required, often which is not 100% accurate due to human error in the first place.’

And Chris Watkin who has no commercial tie to the tlyfer’s and is very much a man who knows a thing or two about lettings and always speaks his mind, has commented,

‘By integrating with other industry products, tlyfe offers functionality that covers a range of benefits. The features of the app include verified digital ID verification, right-to-rent checks at the click of a button, a low-cost tenant loan solution for deposits, an interactive move in process, and auto document storage … plus tenants can build their credit rating by keeping an ongoing digital record of all rental payments, and provided they are paid on time, tlyfe can help to build a tenant’s credit score by allowing tenants to add these payments to their rental histories.’

‘Tlyfe’s goal is to take the stress out of the move in process and help manage the entire lifecycle of a tenancy. With unique benefits to letting agents & tenants, tlyfe allows tenants to view and manage their tenancy deposits, delivering a UK first.’

To find out more, please reach out to the team using this LINK or go to the tlyfe site using this LINK.

Cedar raises $3m to take on US housing crisis 

Cedar’s generative building design platform for housing and urban development receives backing from Caffeinated Capital and real estate powerhouses to help real-estate developers build denser, more affordable cities

PRESS RELEASE Austin, Texas – October 31, 2023; The US housing market is short 6.5 million homes after more than a decade of under-building relative to population and demand growth. Cedar is today announcing a $3M seed funding round to take this problem head on, with software that helps real-estate developers and professionals maximize the housing potential of urban infill properties. 

Cedar believes that the complexities of urban development are driving builders to construct homes ever-farther from city centers, thus contributing to the supply-demand mismatch creating a crisis of affordability today. Kyle Vansice, co-founder of Cedar added: “Not only is the US not building enough housing to support our population growth, we’re not building homes in the right places – urban centers where current and future generations want to live and work, and be closer to their friends, family, and cultural amenities.” 

The funding round was led by Caffeinated Capital with participation from Tishman Speyer Ventures, Maria Davidson (CEO of celebrated construction startup Kojo), David Rubenstein via Shorewind Capital, Alumni Ventures, among others. Cedar’s cap table also includes global venture capital firm Antler as an early investor (pre-seed round) 

Founded in 2022 by Kyle Vansice, Nate Peters and Rahul Attraya, Cedar is radically collapsing the time and cost for developers to source and evaluate real-estate projects, a major inefficiency in today’s real-estate market. It often takes longer to acquire, design, and permit a housing project than it does to build it – largely due to the slow, consultant driven, and regulatory burdened process of solving the 3D puzzle that is a real-estate development project. And while 80% of cities are composed of housing, almost no software exists to help developers know where and what can be built in the city – a critical market gap Cedar is filling.

The Cedar platform uses generative algorithms and a mix of public and proprietary data to quickly generate a broad array of building designs, accurately predicting the development yield on any parcel in a city, and converting complex land-development regulations into real development scenarios that maximize a property’s financial potential. Cedar is on a mission to standardize a fragmented process of value creation that typically takes months of consultant work and adds hundreds of thousands of dollars to each development project.

By challenging the fundamentals on housing design and location, Cedar is creating a pathway to help deliver the residential needs of communities across the US. “By connecting local zoning and land development regulations with a national standard for infill housing and urban density, Cedar is the first technology startup that is offering a fresh vision for housing development and design for the future,” Nate Peters, co-founder of Cedar added. 

Cedar believes the immediate opportunity for builders and developers lies in places that were previously built for largely single-family development, but offer the potential to dramatically densify to create more livable and walkable neighborhoods. The future of urban development needs to move beyond the binary of either single-family homes or luxury high-rise to include the “missing middle” scale – a term coined by Dan Parolek and his firm Opticos Design. 

Rahul Attraya, co-founder of Cedar added: “The smaller, non-institutional “missing middle” scale projects are critical to creating a more economically and environmentally sustainable density in our cities. They present the key to providing the breadth of affordable options cities need. But getting innovative housing built in urban areas is not easy, and builders, developers, and the design community take big risks to make them happen – Cedar is supporting this effort by providing sophisticated planning and analysis technology that reduces risk and maximizes their potential. 

The infill multi-family construction is a $300B+ market annually, and is expected to nearly double by 2030. It is not only America’s fastest growing housing development type, but according to a recent University of California Berkeley study, the single most effective tool in reducing the carbon emissions of our society. 

Cedar has coverage across Austin now, but has ambitious plans to expand to a number of major American cities over the next 12-18 months. Varun Gupta, Partner at Caffeinated Capital, commented: “Characterizing the economic value of any parcel of land through its current and future development opportunities will drive massive value to developers, brokers, states and municipalities, and other stakeholders. With it, Cedar could help usher in a new golden era of municipal development and help solve America’s housing shortage.”

Tyler Norwood, General Partner US at Antler, Cedar’s initial investor remarked: “We backed the Cedar team from day zero. As an early investor, we worked with Kyle, Rahul, and Nate as they experimented and fought to crack open a wedge into this market. The Cedar team is ambitious and tenacious, exactly the qualities required to scale a mammoth proptech opportunity. This 0-1 stage of a company is such a hard but exhilarating time — I feel honored that a team this strong gave Antler the opportunity to be a partner on this journey and it is exciting to see Cedar quickly gaining traction. I look forward to continue supporting the team as they build the future of urban infill development starting in our own backyard, Austin, TX.“

Andrew Stanton’s PROPTECH-X in association with Estate Agent Networking & NewsNow publications.

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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