RentGuard: Digitally Transforming The Rental Industry

Sunway Group’s innovation arm, Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), has announced the top five startups from its one-month pre-accelerator phase of the 2021 Sunway iLabs Super Accelerator programme.

The accelerator programme, kicked off together with Pan-Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners last month and was completed with 23 startups in a pitch competition to a panel of judges. 

The top five selected startups are Loop Food, Rent Guard, Singular, Trabble and Wise Crafters.

In the next three months of the Super Accelerator programme, Sunway iLabs will help the selected top five startup founders connect with Sunway’s global network of partners, industry experts, mentors and investors.

Head’s Up will be interviewing all five chosen startups each week to discuss further on where they are, their challenges, and how they are creating, how their participation in Sunway iLabs will impact their journey moving forward.

This week, we chat with Co-founder and CEO of RentGuard, Jeff Tan on how he is navigating the rental industry with a cloud-based system that looks to go beyond just being an innovative offering and tackle long-standing issues in the industry.

Can you share more about the services your startup offers? 

RentGuard is a B2B SAAS cloud solution that helps hostel operators/room accommodation providers to automate, centralise and analyse their rental business. We focus in solving long stay rental operator problems, such as delay in rental collection, heavy loads of bank reconciliation works, messy book keeping and high admin cost.  

By using RentGuard’s Cloud System, our customers can digitally sign up tenants with e-booking, automated rental and utilities collection to improve their cashflow, automated e-invoicing to save rental processing time. More important, we enable them with data driven way of running business. It is a digital transformation for our B2B customers. 

With many other property rental services looking to pivot to somewhat similar services, how do you plan on staying competitive? 

Unlike others competitors, RentGuard offers cloud solution to both property agencies and rental operators. While capturing customer data is a task for the long haul, RentGuard leverages data from property agents and room operators that can be done more quickly. To date, RentGuard has processed more than 10,000 rental and 5,000 property subsales cases.

As our solutions support both property Rental and Subsales transactions, RentGuard is able to analyse property sales and rental fees. With an updated transaction, RentGuard enables customers to understand the demographic of its clients and even showcase the rental return yield in particular postcode areas.

With our big data, RentGuard is able to always focus on product innovation to capture a bigger market share by offering greater value proposition for solving market pain points.

Additionally, by tracking tenant rental payment behaviour, Rentguard is able to generate tenant profiles (T-Score) as a form of KYC. Our T-Score can serve as future references digital banks and landlords without physical meeting and solving discrimination over tenants’ race, sex and occupation among others.  

RentGuard also collects, aggregates and analyses data from properties, agents and tenants.

We have more 2000 active property agents using RentGuard system to process their property transactions on a daily basis.

Speed and cost effective technology separates us from competitors. We have also invested in R&D and to continue focusing on the monetisation of data. 

What are the areas as a startup are you looking to improve with the help of the partners, Sunway iLabs and Gobi Partners? 

We have come to realise that it is vital for us to work with esteemed organisations such as Sunway and Gobi Partners in order to grow our business to the next level and beyond Malaysian borders.

We have also benefited from their coaching and consultation in scaling our business on a much faster pace. Meanwhile, we are exploring collaborations with their business units and investment portfolios with immediate traction growth. Both Sunway and Gobi Partners are also possibly our lead investors for our upcoming fundraising round.

How have you adapted to the pandemic? 

Covid-19 slowed down properties transaction which in return impacted our property agents and customers badly. To tackle this problem, we are offering an e-booking system to customers with zero fees, assisting them to get back on their feet. This not only revives those discontinued clients, it also helps us to capture a wider market share with a much faster pace.

Please refer to our zero fees relief for property agencies : 

However, there are more people renting properties or rooms as essential staying place. Rental cases are growing in strong demands. To adapt to changing patterns, we decided to shift our focus onto rental cases. Therefore, our revenue will derive from rental collection fees, utilities collection, e-tenancy and other personalised rental management service. 

Our rental collection has grown five times more since the pandemic started and we have achieved 15 percent growth in the latest quarter.

What has the reception been like to your services and how has the market reacted to your services? 

Every month, we conduct 30 demos in average to new potential customers. Since the start of the pandemic, we have done more than 400 system demos. Room accommodation providers have welcomed our cloud solutions as it is able to solve their recurring problems at a very affordable cost.

At the same time, RentGuard also constantly receives good feedbacks from tenants who are able to receive invoices immediately after the rent payment is made. Our solution also increases transparency in rental payment which offers peace of mind to tenants.

What challenges do you face in expanding your services in the city/nationwide? 

Our major growth challenges are in funding and talents. In order to grow business on a faster pace, we need to expand business team and invest in human capital. We also need to increase marketing expenses and advertise our services.

On the bright side, the RentGuard rental system is a cloud based solution which does not need installation and on-site support. Our onboarding process and customer support are fully online and remote. Currently, our B2B customers are located nationwide, especially in Klang Valley, Johor, Ipoh, Melaka, and Kota Kinabalu. 

RentGuard will continue to focus in acquire new customers in these metropolitan and looking opportunity for more cities. 

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