Startup Q&A - Deposify: Effectively Managing Security Deposits
You see “security deposit required” on nearly every apartment listing and while it may be required as part of the application process, that doesn’t mean issues won’t arise.
However, they don't have to. Deposify, a startup based out of Ireland and has been a part of the Boston tech scene for two years, works as an Escrow-as-a-Service for landlords, apartment tenants, and property managers to maintain control of security deposits.
Deposify Founder and CEO Jon Bayle spoke with us about why his company expanded over here in Boston and also touched upon how his past career helped shape the company’s vision.
CB: I’m a big fan of the phrase “origin story.” What are the origins of Deposify?
JB: I founded Deposify following a 10-plus year career as a corporate finance lawyer, focused on tech mergers & acquisitions. We used to act as escrow agents for buyers and sellers of companies and I thought escrow as a service could be automated by technology and the best first use case in security deposits – where deposit management, from compliance to dispute resolution, causes problems for landlords, tenants, and brokers.
Ireland is a great place to start, but it’s a small market. There’s a long history of Irish companies looking to the US for scale, and landing on the East Coast first. For Deposify, the landlord and tenant markets in Massachusetts is five times the size of the Irish market and New York's is five times the size of Massachusetts. We’ll be adding access to Deposify to New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the coming months, in addition to Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut where we currently operate, giving us access to 7.5 million-plus rental units.
CB: What is the ultimate goal of Deposify?
JB: We want to simplify and automate security deposit management by keeping landlords compliant state-by-state, helping tenants control their security deposits and making administration of security deposits more efficient for brokers and property managers.
CB: I’m always interested in how a startup came up with its name. How did Deposify get its name?
JB: We wanted to ensure that the word ‘deposit’ was represented in the company name and also that all the digital assets we needed such as the .com were available. We were lucky that Deposify was available and we jumped on it.
CB: Explain what your company does. If it’s a particular software/platform/service/etc. how does it work? Any use case that stands out to you?
JB: Landlords in Massachusetts are required to create joint trust accounts for security deposits in local state banks. In doing so landlords assume complex compliance obligations including paying interest annually. Deposify’s technology lets landlords create online trust accounts, make and receive payments without needing cash or checks and use our online dispute advisory and resolution service.
CB: How big is the team? Looking to hire any particular position in the upcoming months?
JB: We are 12 between our offices in Dublin, Boston, and New York. Our US team is sales and marketing, with technology done out of Ireland. We’ll be looking to expand the US sale and marketing team through 2018.
CB: Has your company participated in any trade shows/meetup events in the Boston area? What about events outside of Boston?
JB: We’ve been in Boston since 2016 and busy building the US business. People like the Boston Irish Business Association and the New York Digital Irish have been a great help.
CB: Is the company bootstrapped or seeking investments?
JB: The company is venture-backed out of Ireland, with Ireland’s biggest bank, Bank of Ireland, as an investor amongst others. We are working on a scaling round for the US and hope to make an announcement shortly.
CB: Any other additional comments you’d like to make?
JB: We’re very excited about a lending product we’re launching this month for tenants; tenants can borrow the security deposit at 1.5% per month when using the Deposify service. This should free up cash flow for tenants and work as an alternative solution for landlords to insurance products for security deposits.