Power to the (Individual) People

Co-founders Heath Silverman and Jonah Schwartz

How Stessa’s Platform Seamlessly Services the Individual Investor

Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, real estate investors had a long list of daily headaches. From multiple bank accounts to a shoebox of receipts—not to mention countless Excel documents—responsible investment was often a part-time job in it of itself. That is, until proptech wrenched real estate out of the dark ages of calculator clicking and receipt ripping—and into the twenty first century.

Now more than ever, the real estate startup world is seeing an actualized interest from investors, as even the industry’s world weary elite have conceded that management is a great deal easier on a phone screen. One such new technology platform, Stessa, aims to do just that—bring a new, digital face to modern real estate investment.

Acquired in 2018 by one of our Mann Report feature story subjects, JLL Spark, Stessa is a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based platform that helps rental property investors to easily manage, communicate, and track aspects of their real estate portfolio. So whether it’s keeping tabs on your investments or assessing property performance, Stessa wants the process to be as simple and painless as possible.

“For us, it’s all about simplifying and streamlining traditionally time-consuming tasks that investors muddle through every day,” said Stessa Co-founder and CEO Heath Silverman. “As a result, Stessa saves investors both time and money.”

The brainchild of an attic brainstorm session, Silverman and fellow Co-founder Jonah Schwartz started their Stessa journey as part-time investors, with full-time day jobs. Over time, the duo realized that real estate investing required an overwhelming amount of time and energy. After a deep dive into one of their multifamily properties, Silverman and Schwartz were able to double the property’s value, share the building’s new value with the bank, and do a cash-out refi that enabled them to purchase another property and grow their portfolio. The lessons gleaned from the project led to the creation of Stessa.

“We were shocked by the value that we could create in such a short amount of time,” added Silverman. “We knew we could deliver a software that would allow us to automate almost everything that we did, and we wanted this to be available to the millions of investors just like us.”

The antithesis of spreadsheets, it’s Silverman and Schwartz’s firm belief that every investor should have pertinent data at their fingertips. That way they can immediately know whether they are making or losing money, and can make decisions accordingly. In short, rather than an overwhelming number of often out-of-date spreadsheets, Stessa simplifies the process, distilling information onto one central, easy-to-use dashboard.

“It updates in real time, it has a mobile app that lets you track your investments on-the-go, and did I mention that it’s free?” said Silverman.

Not only that, but the platform prides itself on its airtight security, an imperative, as many users link their bank accounts directly to Stessa. Rest assured that no credentials are stored on Stessa, and that the team utilizes the most up-to-date security available to guarantee the security of all sensitive information. No information is shared without permission, and the company takes every possible measure to ensure that data is kept safe and secure.

It’s with this guarantee of absolute security and with the further guarantee of added value and savings that Stessa hopes to further push technology into the real estate tech sphere.

“It’s time!!!” said Silverman. “You can put three exclamation points there. Tech is in every aspect of our lives, so it’s time to bring essential tech solutions to the individual investor. Right now, most individual investors have no idea whether they’ve made money except one day a year, when they get their returns from their accountant.”

Moreover, it’s the democratization of the asset class and the individual investor that Stessa is focused on—a marketplace that is often underestimated by the larger real estate world—as over 70 percent of single family rentals and apartment buildings are now owned by individual investors in the U.S.

“We’re very excited about giving this sector of the market the tools they need to maximize their portfolio,” said Silverman. “Many other proptech companies aren’t targeting these investors, and I think a lot of people don’t realize how big this market really is.”

Ease of access and democratization of opportunity could indeed change the shape of the individual investor sector, and the larger investment industry—for those who are willing and able to embrace it. But while investors may be separated from their beloved statistics and spreadsheets, they will gain something far greater, with a shiny new dashboard to service their every management need.

That’s a future worth investing in.

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