We’ve all been in that situation: something catastrophically breaks in your apartment and you can’t get ahold of your landlord or the maintenance team. It was a moment like this during a brutal Rhode Island winter that inspired Grant Drzyzga to build Revela.
Everyone has had issues with apartments, but Grant became obsessed with what had happened. How could all these systems work together so poorly that Grant had to sleep with a hairdryer under his sheets when his heat went out that winter?
After graduating from school and returning to Michigan, Grant saw that his friends in the real estate business had the same problems. So he set out to build a platform to find a solution. When he met John DeSilva in 2016, they co-founded Revela.
“Property managers aren’t trying to do a bad job. They want to do a good job and provide nice places to live,” says Grant. “But there are these asymmetries of information that exist between all these platforms which create bad experiences for people.”
Revela is on a mission to help property managers get the operational support they need so that they can run their properties better and serve their clients. The software provides a full suite of solutions from finance, accounting, maintenance, leasing and more.
“A lot of the products in this space are just a piece of the puzzle,” says John. “We want to be the table that the puzzle is sitting on.”
After seven years of bootstrapping, Revela raised a $9 million Series A funding round and is backed by some of the best investors in the industry: FirstMark, a leading VC firm that has made investments in Airbnb, DraftKings, Shopify, Discord, and others; as well as MetaProp, a leader in PropTech investments; and Detroit Venture Partners, a leading VC firm based in Revela’s headquarter city.
Now, Revela is gearing up for growth for both their team and their product, expanding beyond its original vision of property management tools.
Home is where community is
To make sure property management companies can operate smoothly, Revela’s platform brings together tools for operations, accounting, acquisitions, and communicating with residents, vendors and investors.
From leasing and maintenance, to mobile payment processing; renovations to financing; Revela helps property management companies empower their managers and landlords with better tools, so they can create great places to live.
The impact of this has a huge ripple effect on the community, too.
“Through some of our lending partnerships, we’re seeing entire neighborhoods become transformed,” says John. “Some banks won’t give out loans if the cost of the property isn’t high enough — they don’t see value in that neighborhood. But we can connect people to financing to help them rehab properties. This can help bring value back to the neighborhood and the community.”
Revela’s tools also allow property managers to be more responsive, to offer a transparent application process, and give rewards to residents: its Resident Benefits Package rewards people for paying rent on time, positively impacting credit scores (typically rent, which is a huge expense, is not taken into account by credit bureaus).
“We can connect people to financing to help them rehab properties. This can help bring value back to the neighborhood and the community.”
Again, this is a huge benefit for the community. The property values in the neighborhood increase for other people in the community, and the residents’ purchasing power goes up, giving them more options and mobility.
“We’re really empowering people to build businesses that make a positive impact on the communities they’re in,” says Grant. “It’s highly local, but we’re doing it at a national scale. We’re lending the money, collecting rent, but we’re building great places to live for people and making sure communities have stable property values.”
Growing for the future
Now, Revela is one of the largest lenders for property managers in cities like Detroit, St. Louis, Gary, and more. With $9 million in funding, Revela is looking to grow its presence around the country and build up its team.
“We’re excited about the growth. We’re always learning and growing, trying to build a multi-billion dollar company,” says Grant.
As Grant and John continue to grow their team in Detroit, they’re looking for collaborative people who are passionate about helping remove friction in a tired, bureaucratic institution.
“We really value the ability to talk to the team and to customers. We’re building a cohesive product, so we want our developers to talk to customers, too,” says John. Often, customers visit their office and the team gets the chance to learn more and chat with them.
On top of being highly collaborative, the Revela team is incredibly supportive.
“This is a great place to grow, to be creative, to be challenged.”
Everyone has your back and pitches in to help out. In that vein, it’s a very egalitarian culture, which also creates a lot of upward mobility.
“We want to invest in our people,” says Grant. “We want them to stay here and reward them for it.”
Many startups at the Series A stage may have a reputation for being chaotic, or maybe even clueless — you know, that “flying the plane as we build it” mentality. But at Revela, despite just closing their Series A funding round, the company is well established, enjoying the benefits of a startup culture without all the chaos that comes with it.
“We’re looking for people who are ready to build our team with us. This is a great place to grow, to be creative, to be challenged. We don’t micromanage people, and we don’t set limits,” says John.
If you’re interested in working with a tech company making a real impact in communities, and working with a major player rising in the real estate industry, Revela is the place to be. Check out more about the company and their open jobs.