By Meghan Hall
Entrata, a technology and app provider, has been working within the multifamily industry for nearly 20 years. The platform’s longevity can be attributed to its ability to adapt and change to keep pace with both tech and commercial real estate, and recently the platform has integrated with Samsung SmartThings, which specializes in home automation, to further its reach. The Registry spoke with Entrata’s COO, Chase Harrington, about the platform and how the multifamily industry is rapidly changing thanks to new tech.
Please tell The Registry a little bit about Entrata’s initial beginnings as a platform. When established, what pain points within the residential/multifamily industry did Entrata seek to solve? Why?
In 2003, when Entrata was founded (as Property Solutions) many property management companies were still relying on manual processes, paper leases, 10 lb. leasing binders, and banks of filing cabinets to manage their operations. Our founders saw the opportunity to update processes and introduce technology-based efficiencies across the board, starting with interactive property websites for marketing and leasing and online rent payments. In the years that have followed, an entire industry has been revolutionized and many of our customers emerged from 2020 with completely paperless (and contactless!) processes in place. Our platform facilitates that.
Can you talk a little bit about how the platform works?
The Entrata platform has been built from the ground up to create seamless workflows at every step of the renter lifecycle. Using one single platform not only makes it easier for site-staff (just one password to remember), it eliminates the redundancy (and inevitable inconsistencies) of entering the same information in a handful of disparate systems. So workflows are faster and more intuitive and important data lives in one place for more effective reporting.
For our readers who are unfamiliar, what is “Entratamation”?
Entratamation is the part of our platform that enables multifamily communities to centrally manage smart-home technologies within their properties. Many IoT tools were designed with single-family dwellings in mind, so managing them in a multifamily setting introduces a host of challenges, but also some brilliant opportunities. We’ve built capabilities into the platform that not only give renters access to these tools, but allow operators to manage and utilize them in ways that meet their specific needs as well.
What is one feature of Entrata that you believe has the most impact? Why?
Entrata provides a comprehensive, single-login platform on which all of our solutions operate. This is a key differentiator as it makes it easier to implement the software, train staff, offers greater security, and ultimately provides an unparalleled user experience. Specifically, the lead-management process boasts an unprecedented level of sophistication in the industry. Our CRM ensures that the necessary contact points are never lost throughout each step of the renter life cycle (leads, touring, applications, screening/fraud protection, lease documents, move-in / move-out processes, maintenance, etc.).
Entrata is continuing to expand and most recently integrated with Samsung SmartThings. How will this integration benefit both platforms?
Entrata has been involved in regular conversations with Samsung SmartThings for a while now about ways to push the resident experience forward while concurrently assisting property teams, and we’re confident this integration will go a long way in furthering both organization’s efforts to lead in this space. With the SmartThings integration, property teams can give residents the ability to adjust settings on Samsung refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers and ovens. This includes the ability to remotely control refrigerator and freezer temperatures and receive immediate notifications if the door is accidentally left open, or initiate washing/drying machine cycles from anywhere, monitor cooking progress and adjust oven temperature, and more.
How does this integration align with Entrata’s plans for growth?
Integrations with industry leaders like Samsung SmartThings play a crucial role in Entrata’s efforts to provide the most comprehensive and streamlined smart home experience to residents. This integration, and others like it, are critical to our ability to roll out smart home and automation solutions at scale and continue to lead in our space from a technology and innovation standpoint.
As Proptech firms become more commonplace and continue to drive the future of IoT, what specific steps is Entrata taking to remain competitive?
We continue to scale up our investment in research and development with a heavy emphasis on cutting-edge proptech initiatives. We’re also actively eliciting feedback from our client base and using that information to innovate in ways that are meaningful for both property managers and residents. These efforts play an important role in our ability to lead as a proptech provider and drive the future of IoT.
From your perspective, how has the proptech industry changed since Entrata was founded in 2003?
The multifamily industry (the demand side of the proptech equation) has a longstanding reputation for a conservative business approach, and has been called slow to adopt new technologies and resistant to change. For anyone paying attention, that characterization is less accurate every year. In the time I’ve been at Entrata, I’ve observed our clients’ appetite for innovation increase, and in many cases they’re the ones asking us to roll out new features and functions faster. That willingness to adapt is a sign of strength and promises good things ahead for our vibrant, changing industry.
What lessons have you learned throughout the firm’s growth and tenure within the market?
We’ve grown from the disruptive little startup best known for wearing red Vans and breakdancing at tradeshows, to an industry leader recognized for our revolutionary platform and exceptional partnership (as well as our red Vans and dancing). One thing is clear – if we’re going to continue to provide the kind of tech innovation our clients need, we have to stay just as hungry, just as disruptive, and just as energetic as we ever were. We’ve seen enormous success and built a company that is very well positioned in our market…but anyone who rests on their laurels is in danger of quickly becoming obsolete.