NEW YORK — MeetElise, a leading artificial intelligence-powered leasing agent software that now streamlines leasing processes for over 250,000 multifamily communities nationwide, has announced a $6.5 million Series A financing led by Navitas Capital. This investment brings the total amount of funding raised by the company to $8.5 million.
MeetElise, founded by Minna Song (MIT) and Tony Stoyanov (University of Cambridge) in 2017, uses machine learning to fill the communication gaps between prospective renters and apartment operators , increasing the conversion rates of traditional leasing agents using conventional methods and tools by more than 65%.
Meet “Elise” — an AI leasing assistant that handles the most redundant and tedious communications with prospective residents in a responsive, highly informed and high-touch manner. The MeetElise technology is customer experience-driven and easy to deploy (as it is integrated seamlessly with clients’ existing property management software).
Traditionally, prospective renters often wait hours or days to get answers to their questions about an apartment, touring a community is time-constrained by a leasing office’s time/availability, and there is little (if any) consistency in customer service from one community to the next. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added more complexity to this process, with many multifamily owners having to make substantial changes to their leasing and touring practices in order to protect their leasing teams, existing residents and prospective tenants. “We launched MeetElise with the desire to make housing more accessible – but instead of building houses, we decided to take the approach of building scalable software to help existing residential property managers run more efficiently and profitably, said Minna Song, co-founder and CEO. “Elise is responsive 24/7 and always answers emails, calls and texts immediately – saving our client leasing teams 2-3 hours a day (on average) to focus on other tasks serving prospective and current residents. We’re thrilled by the reception the technology has received and to have incredible partners like Navitas supporting us as we help property managers bring scalability to crucial pieces of the prospective resident journey.”
“Leasing as we know it is being fundamentally disrupted — and the pandemic is only accelerating this shift. Apartment seekers are already experiencing a faster, friendlier and more responsive apartment search with MeetElise, while she is providing much needed support to leasing teams at a moment in time when their jobs are as challenging as ever,” said Louis Schotsky, Managing Partner at Navitas. “When I first was introduced to the MeetElise team, we saw the enormous potential of the technology – but wouldn’t have invested without the rare technical talent in natural language processing that Minna and Tony bring to the platform. Now that I’m at Navitas, we’re thrilled to continue to work with these incredible founders and add them to our collaborative network of innovators transforming real estate.”
The investment marks the first deal led by Schotsky at Navitas, which he recently joined following 13 years in operations and investments at Equity Residential (the largest publicly traded apartment REIT), as well as leading its venture and sustainability programs. Navitas, a venture capital firm focused on transformative real estate technology and innovation is backed by top-tier institutional real estate firms including Jones Lang LaSalle, Equity Residential, Avalon Bay, First American Financial, Saint-Gobain and DivCo West. Navitas connects technology startups with leading real estate innovators – providing foundational venture capital, trusted industry expertise and impactful market opportunities. Schotsky assumes his first board seat with Navitas at MeetElise as part of the investment, while Navitas Managing Partner and co-founder Travis Putnam (also an investor in MeetElise’s seed round) will serve as a board observer.
MeetElise has quietly been deployed portfolio-wide by some of the largest multifamily property management companies over the past year, after a series of successful pilots which delivered “unprecedented” ROI to clients and proved the technology could integrate deeply with existing property management systems and provide an exceptionally high quality customer experience. These include Equity Residential (with over 80,000 apartment homes) and AvalonBay (with over 86,000 apartment homes) who both also participated directly in the Series A round as investors. “MeetElise serves as a bright spot within proptech — an easy-to-deploy technology solution that replaces a manual process and produces immediate ROI,” said Karen Hollinger, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at AvalonBay. “Responsiveness to our prospects is key to AvalonBay’s mission, and we are pleased to partner with Minna and the MeetElise team to help reimagine the leasing experience.”
The number of apartments on the platform has grown by 50% since February and over 10x in the last 12 months, making MeetElise a case study in how technology is helping the real estate industry respond to the constraints of the pandemic while creating permanent digital infrastructure to serve it in the long run. To help address new challenges for landlords that have emerged in response to COVID-19, MeetElise also is announcing the beta of Self-Guided Tours, a new product for scheduling and facilitating self-guided and virtual tour products that allow social distancing and promote safety. The product partners with leading digital twin visualizer Matterport as well as igloohome to deliver a seamless, safer user experience.
In addition to product innovation, the Series A investment will also be deployed to expand the offering to small and midsize property management companies (making the impact of a solution like MeetElise even more transformative) and recruiting efforts. MeetElise has been highly successful in attracting top talent with experience from Microsoft, WeWork, Harry’s and Zillow and is currently actively hiring for a range of roles including software engineers, customer success, marketing, and sales.