Case Study: Branding and Early-Stage Product Development


Today I am going to talk about my process of ideation, conceptualisation, branding and early-stage product development. 


1,909 words・10 minute read・Lena Kudryavtseva

 

The Team

I am going to talk about my work at a Vancouver-based proptech startup REBCA, whose goal was to improve rental and property management processes, digitalise and optimise documentation and legal agreements, as well as create a better communication system for all the parties involved: tenants, property owners, property managers, service providers/vendors (electricians, plumbers, handyworkers, etc.).

Founded by three friends, Sam and Joe Lui, who had previously founded a software development company, and Phil Chou, who, despite his young age, had had a record of successful property investments, REBCA was a very fun place to work. Young, 25–30-something, team of great entrepreneurial minds, always fun to be around and good (at times even, weird) banter in the office.


 

Product Placement


Conveniently located in the same time zone as the Silicon Valley capital San Francisco, Vancouver is up-and-coming and becoming an attractive target to startup companies, investors and other businesses — combining the luxuries of a big city and beautiful nature surroundings.



Canada also has friendlier immigration and work policies than the US, which results in many young people coming for an international work experience (IEC), hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kitesurfing and any other great activities Canada has to offer. (Here’s a nice blog with some useful tips on how to apply for IEC Work Holiday visa).

Vancouver property market is thriving and rising in price, however, there aren’t too many innovators in that field, to such an extent that Canadians still use Craigslist (😱!!!) to post or search for properties. Thus there is an ever-growing need in disrupting the property sector.


 

Research phase

Defining the problem


1. Communication
When we spoke to the property managers at a partner company, we tried identifying which tasks prevailed in their workload and which ones were taking most time to complete. They mentioned that most of their time was spent on going through and replying to an extremely high amount of emails received each day; resulting in emails getting “lost” or overlooked.

2. High amount of paper work
They told us how they had to send out PDF-documents to the prospective tenants and that often they would have to manually merge multiple PDF-documents into a single one and make sure the documents were signed.

3. Management and compliance
They also mentioned how tedious it was to check on who was responsible for repair works: property owners, property managers or building managers. To do that, they had to go through the legal documentation of the property (which is usually an impressively wide physical folder), search for the right clause and then contact the property owner or the building manager, and then arrange the time and date for the repairs to be made.

The Problems:
For Property Managers:
・Poor communication
・High amount of paper work
・Compliance and legal liability check-ups