Local investors boost real estate tech startup

Tenant Turner accepts the $10,000 check for wining the startup contest. (Photo by Michael Thompson.)

Tenant Turner accepts the $10,000 check for wining the i.e. Start-Up Competition last year. Photo by Michael Thompson.

After raising money through a startup competition and a business incubator, a nearly 2-year-old Richmond company has tried a new approach to fueling its growth.

Tenant Turner, which focuses on real estate-related technology, announced Monday that it completed its first capital raise. Co-founder and CEO James Barrett said the company gathered $390,000 from a group of investors during the first three months of 2015.

Tenant Turner offers leasing software for property managers and companies to syndicate property listings to websites, schedule showings and screen tenants.

Brandon Anderson, top, James Barrett and Chris Stewart of Tenant Turner.

From top: Brandon Anderson, James Barrett and Chris Stewart.

“We needed outside capital to grow,” Barrett said. “We actually brought on a sales person and are looking to add to the sales team.”

The investors in the company’s capital raise are Duke Dodson of Dodson Property Management; Doug White, a principal at Whitestone Partners Management Consulting; Daniil Kleyman of True Vision Analytics; Will Loving of Altron Corp.; Jim Cheng, a former Virginia secretary of commerce and trade; and two anonymous Richmond-area investors.

Barrett, along with fellow VCU graduates and college friends Chris Stewart and Brandon Anderson, started Tenant Turner late 2013. It was initially focused on providing a service to help landlords and property managers screen tenants.

Barrett said the focus of the company has since shifted from drumming up revenue from rental applications to selling its leasing software to companies.

“Now, we’re more of business-to-business software solution that needs direct sales,” Barrett said. “Our emphasis is on selling to property managers.”

Barrett said Tenant Turner, which works out of downtown co-working space Gather, will also use its newfound funds to sponsor events that cater to property management companies to help build its brand.

The company experienced smaller bursts of capital in the past. In April 2014, Tenant Turner won $10,000 at the Greater Richmond Chamber’s i.e. Start-Up competition. It got another $20,000 as part of its participation in Lighthouse Labs’ accelerator program.

Barrett said the company’s capital raising efforts will continue.

“We will be raising money in the next 12 to 24 months,” Barrett said. “That’s going to largely help our technology infrastructure as we scale the business.”

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