By Jacob Bourne
Shubber Ali and James Sheppard, Centriq’s co-founders, were both working as innovation executives at Salesforce when they had a eureka moment about how to solve some of the common frustrations that come with homeownership. Sheppard, a new homeowner himself, had recently spent $200 for a technician to change a set of batteries in his home, all because he was unaware that his fireplace receiver box was battery operated. In light of the increasing complexity of modern homes, they launched Centriq in 2015 to make homeownership a less intimidating experience, especially for the uninitiated. Centriq’s app-based home management platform serves as a central location for all home-related information such as appliances, devices, paint colors, electrical wiring and troubleshooting issues that one may encounter after moving day.
“Everyone who sells something that goes into a home wants to provide support to their consumers, however the model for providing that support has changed,” said Sheppard. “No one visits the support websites, yet manufacturers want people to know how to use their stuff and are excited about anything that aids a better experience with their product. Through personal experiences in our own homes we understood that homeowners want one place to turn to in order to get things working.”
Manufacturers of products ranging from lighting fixtures, to appliances and paint have been eager to upload product information to the Centriq platform. Once a homeowner has the smartphone app, they can snap a photo of the product label on an appliance and have one place to gather all the information they need for servicing or operation. Centriq frees homeowners from the need to keep stacks of product manuals, floor plans, warranties and receipts. The platform also features “how-to” videos, emergency plans, maintenance alerts and product safety recalls.
“Having one place to turn to is really exciting,” added Sheppard. “It’s a knowledge transfer mechanism that happens without sellers and buyers having to communicate directly. Real estate agents create a Centriq account and essentially digitize the property by creating videos, adding pictures and all the necessary information. When the property sells, the realtor then transfers the whole package to the buyer who can in turn add to it.”
Centriq currently has about 10,000 users, many of whom are realtors compiling property information for their clients. There’s no membership fee to use the platform and it’s completely free to homeowners, however realtors have the option of purchasing an annual subscription for $349, which allows them to maintain visibility with past clients by displaying their brand on client accounts. Centriq also gains revenue through affiliate fees paid by manufacturers and retailers every time a product is purchased through the app.
Payton Stiewe, a Pacific Union realtor who’s been on the Payton + Binnings team for the past eight years, said that Centriq has saved his team time and money since they started using the platform last October. He said that in the past they would have had to spend about three hours compiling manuals left behind in kitchen drawers into binders for buyers, and not feel confident that all the necessary information was included. He’s also excited about the recently added recall notification feature.
“Since using Centriq we’ve gotten a lot of listings because sellers feel like we’re really on top of things and tech savvy,” Stiewe commented. “It simplifies the process of moving out of their homes. We have the annual subscription service for all our properties and it’s a no brainer. Every time a notification goes out it will have my name on it so clients will remember me.”
The National Association of Home Builders gave Centriq a Platinum Award in the Game Changer category at the 2016 Best in American Living Awards. In January, Centriq announced a partnership with the California Association of Realtors to help promote the app throughout California’s real estate industry. Centriq is based in the Bay Area and is privately funded.