“We are committed to bringing this technology to the masses, and with this news, it’s clear smart home technology is no longer reserved for luxury homes and apartments." - Adam Blake, CEO of Zego
A Kansas City-based startup has partnered with the real estate investment firm S2 Capital and tech behemoth Amazon to revamp 30,000 apartments with its tech platform.
Zego — which created a smart home app that connects residents with management, maintenance and a marketplace for local services — will integrate its tech into 30,000 S2 Capital units over the next three years. The deal will nearly triple the startup’s footprint as Zego is now currently in more than 16,000 units across 80 multifamily communities across the U.S.
The growth has entailed that Zego CEO Adam Blake triple his company’s headcount, compiling a team of experienced technologists and real estate professionals, he said.
“Our partnership with S2 is a significant move and validation in the market and their subsequent collaboration with Amazon helps us make units more attractive to prospective residents while improving operational efficiencies for property owners,” Blake said. “We are committed to bringing this technology to the masses, and with this news, it’s clear smart home technology is no longer reserved for luxury homes and apartments.”
Through the agreement, Zego will provide its smart home app to the 30,000 S2 Capital units, as well as an Amazon Echo that will enable tenants to control such smart home devices as smart locks, lights, thermostats and wall plugs. The devices will also allow residents to play music, make calls, set music alarms, search the Internet and more. Zego said that soon residents will also have the ability to Alexa to communicate with apartment staff and pay rent.
The deal arrives amid a boom in the use of smart devices in the home. Nearly one-third of those polled in a 250,000-person survey own between five and nine Internet-connected devices, according to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report. The study also reported that renters are willing to pay about $30 more per month for certain smart devices in their residences.
S2 Capital has acquired more than $2 billion in apartments and invested more than $200 million in upgrades and renovations in the past five year, said Scott Everett, CEO of S2 Capital.
“We’ve always been committed to seeking out best-in-class technologies that help us continue to evolve the apartment living experience,” Everett said. “Having worked with many providers in this space, Zego is a trailblazer in its ability to deliver on the promise of a holistic resident app experience, enabling us to provide residents what they want from their smart apartment, as well as what property managers need.”
Zego is among the growing number of startups in proptech — otherwise known as property technology that aims to improve the real estate market. While a broad field, proptech can include products or services for property managers, homebuyers, smart-home devices, office administration, building management, marketing, construction, and even city-planning.
Check back for more Think Realty coverage on proptech and other innovative services for real estate investors.