Lucas Haldeman of SmartRent

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Lucas Haldeman, the founder and CEO of SmartRent, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of SmartRent – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

We designed SmartRent to fill a void we saw in the multifamily housing industry: As the popularity of smart door locks, smart thermostats, and other home automation devices grows, renters are often left out of the equation. Plus, property owners and managers can and should benefit from the operational efficiencies and property protections that smart home devices provide. The rental industry needed a combined enterprise and consumer solution, which most IoT platforms and products did not support. We aimed to solve this problem.

SmartRent’s capabilities improve the lives of residents and make property manager and owner operations more efficient. Some examples are our self-guided apartment tours that alleviate wasted time during the rental process; the Alloy Fusion all-in-one touchscreen hub and thermostat that automates and schedules climate, lighting, and power; leak sensors that identify issues and emergencies before they become catastrophes. The benefits of installing SmartRent’s platform in a multifamily property are wide reaching.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

For me it’s getting that first big customer to come on board. What I’ve found, especially in real estate technology, is people want to see it, touch it, and use it somewhere. Convincing a large company to come along on the journey is always difficult and yet it is vital for the business to succeed.

What does the future hold for SmartRent?

We are focused not only on connected homes – apartments with smart thermostats, smart locks, smart plugs, voice control, smart lights, leak sensors and more, but also connected communities. For example, technology that monitors what machines are currently available in the fitness center, parking sensors that indicate what spaces are full, and access codes that simplify the delivery process. We received a strategic investment from Amazon’s Alexa fund last year, which will pave the way for us to work more closely with teams across Amazon and Ring, and to develop software and hardware that turns multifamily housing environments into these connected communities.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Scottsdale?

I think the local Scottsdale startup scene is strong and getting stronger. I don’t think we get the national attention of some areas, but I would put our valley up against any metro in the U.S. I think Scottsdale is one of the best places to start a company.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Tough times don’t last, tough people do.


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