Agents of Tech

“Prop-Tech” Founder is a Fed-Up Renter

Frank Barletta | Photo courtesy of UpTop

UpTop, the world’s first free all-in-one property management platform, recently raised $5.5 million from KAL Investments, Inc. to help expand their fast-growing NYC-based platform to more U.S. markets. For UpTop founder Frank Barletta, this is a major step forward in his personal quest to repair America’s broken property rental process. With a forecasted boom in U.S. rental markets through 2030, the industry’s inefficiency is a huge challenge that renters, landlords, and investors can be counting on UpTop to fix.

“When my wife and I had to move around New York City 10 times in eight years, we saw first-hand just how broken and frustrating the property rental process is,” said Barletta. “Sending your social security number through an unsecure email just so a total stranger can run a background check, or having to order checks from a bank just to pay your rent even though you can pay every other bill online, these kinds of outdated hassles make the rental process very stressful and inefficient. But when I started talking to property managers and landlords, I realized this process is broken on both ends: For them, managing hundreds of units really amplifies all this stress and inefficiency. Yet no one was offering an integrated technology solution that could improve the entire experience for all stakeholders across the board. That’s when I decided to start UpTop.”

UpTop is working to transform a rental industry whose disconnected processes are outdated and inefficient despite massive demand. According to analyst IBISWorld, the apartment rental industry has grown an annualized 3.5% to $176.8 billion over the past five years. The apartment rental market is expected to keep growing rapidly over the next 10 years, as the Urban Institute forecast states: “59% of the 22 million new households that will form between 2010 and 2030 will rent, while just 41 percent will buy their homes, creating rental demand surge through 2030. This also means the homeownership rate will decrease for all age groups, except those older than 75.”

Since founding UpTop and testing the platform in the Ithaca rental market, Barletta and his team have expanded UpTop’s capabilities as they grow into new U.S. markets.

“With UpTop, landlords can list and lease properties, renters can apply and submit their applications securely, and property managers can conduct background checks, collect rents, and even manage maintenance requests automatically in our A.I.-powered maintenance system, all from the same free platform. It streamlines the whole experience, which saves renters time and saves landlords money. Everyone wins.”

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