Welcome to Rentdrop Engineering
Welcome to the Rentdrop Engineering blog! My name is Nick, and I head up Rentdrop’s engineering and technology. We are excited to bring you stories about some of the technical challenges we are solving and how we think differently about approaches to some common pain points in the real estate (PropTech) and financial (FinTech) industries.
But first, I want to provide a little context around why I joined Rentdrop and why I believe this company will do amazing things in an industry that is begging to be disrupted.
I am a startup fanatic.
Most of my career has been working in and on startups. I am crazy about the energy, speed, and problems that startups experience — and I have worked purposefully to stay in and around the startup community.
When I first spoke with Rentdrop’s co-founders, Remen and Ben, I was floored by their focus, intelligence, and resolve. Their experience and competence are refreshing and motivating. Beyond that, they are genuinely good people who care equally about the success of individual team members as they do about the success of Rentdrop.
They expressed their desire to create an engineering organization that feels pride in their accomplishments and in the software they are building… which is great because those are precisely the types of teams I love to create!
It was only a matter of time before I would enthusiastically join Rentdrop!
There is a quote that, for the life of me, I cannot locate the attribution nor the exact phrasing, but it goes something like “Silicon Valley is a graveyard of great technology.”
Techies often make the mistake of building something cool before figuring out what problem it solves. But exciting technology without a real-world problem to solve is entirely useless—at least as far as creating a profitable company is concerned.
At Rentdrop, thankfully, we have performed due diligence and are confident that we are solving a real-world problem with some serious pain points and exponential upside. We have collected data from hundreds of customer interviews outlining their pain points as follows:
Landlords (investment property owners) find property management time-consuming, vacancies & missing/late payments negatively impact ROI, and they often struggle to understand financial implications for various situations.
Tenants feel disempowered by the rental experience, have no control over how the landlord demands to receive rent payments (e.g., paper checks), feel like they do not receive value proportionate to their rent payment.
Connecting the dots
In 2007, the financial crisis drove travelers to demand cheaper options than a hotel. At the same time, people who had extra space in their homes or even secondary houses were looking for ways to ease their financial burden. Thus, Airbnb was born and seized the opportunity.
In 2020, COVID-19 caused vacancies to skyrocket as people fled the city searching for lower-cost living as we all adapted to the work-from-home movement. As a result, landlords are being forced to adapt and modernize in response to different demands. Thus, Rentdrop was born and is seizing the opportunity.
Culture is the heartbeat of the company. I have worked on interesting problems with negative culture before, and let me tell you… culture matters more than interesting tech!
At Rentdrop, we have a human-first ethos. That means we believe all employees are people first, employees second. Leadership and other team members recognize that you have a life with people you care for. Everyone has their own unique situation with different and evolving circumstances. Creating an environment where you feel understood and supported is key to building a trusting, reliable and engaged team.
In practice, what this means is that we offer unlimited PTO — which basically means let’s just have a conversation about your time off and how we can meet your personal needs while also notleaving the team in a bad place.
Additionally, we are a distributed engineering team. Work from your bedroom, a coffee shop, a shared office… or even a mountain top. Basically, if you have Internet there, connect with your team from there! Even before COVID, I was building and scaling distributed engineering teams. This is not something new to us, and this is how we all should have been working for years.
This is where things get really interesting! We feel like we are solving some really big, interesting problems in an industry that is stuck in the 1900s.
But in addition to the exciting problems, we are also deploying exciting technology. We are building Rentdrop in a services architecture with Docker containers deployed to EC2. We are working hard to create the best possible developer experience with CI/CD, Typescript and Graphql — not shying away from building internal tooling to make our lives better.
I truly believe that happy developers are productive developers… and happy, productive developers produce high-quality, tested, reliable code.
We are building for scale.
The long-term rental market sees $512 billion of rent payments annually, with more than 43 million tenants. Capturing just fractions of that industry requires that we optimize for maximum reliability and horizontal scaling.
Lastly, we are exploring and leveraging “tomorrow’s” technology expectations today. I can’t divulge too much, but I will drop a single word here and let you fill in the gaps… crypto!
Fundamentally, we are committed to doing what it takes to build the highest quality product and features for our customers. As such, we are tightly coupled with our Product and Design teams. We work in small squads that address focused tasks. We believe that keeping engineers close to our customers drives empathy and understanding. Therefore, we are working together, side by side, to build solutions for landlords and tenants.
In the coming weeks and months, you will see posts about problems that we are solving, the infrastructure we’re scaling, how we are building interesting features with tomorrow’s tech cough-crypto-cough, and more.