We’re just over a month into the 2018 Corporate Accelerator Program, and the time is flying by! This week, Richard McCoy, founder and CEO of Kansas City-based startup Luxe Concierge, shared more with us about his journey…
Tell me about your business! How does Luxe change the game for residents and property managers?
Luxe is a concierge chatbot that makes it simple to take care of time consuming tasks around your apartment! Luxe helps you book and manage services like housekeeping, dry cleaning, and dog walking directly through a convenient app.
This means you can spend no time searching for providers, checking the reviews, or letting them into your apartment! Luxe also partners with property managers to digitize their perks and provide connected amenity services to residents — and we’re doing it through conversational experiences.
That sounds amazing! Can you share a little more about this market and the problem Luxe solves?
The way renters live in urban cities is fundamentally changing: Today, more people are choosing to rent in urban settings over home ownership, and they value their time and convenience above all else.
But with so many more apartment projects being developed, it’s become much harder for residential developers and apartment marketers to stand out from the competition and capture the attention of today’s renter. Amenities have been a hot topic in the apartment industry for years, and the bar just keeps getting higher. In this industry, the competition for the best apartment amenities is actually known as the “amenities arms race”!
On-demand companies are helping more urban dwellers than ever to create a better work-life balance by saving them a ton of time. Today, people don’t have to drive (‘Uber’), shop for groceries (‘Instacart’), or even walk their dog (‘Wag’)! The convenient living market has made its way into the multifamily industry. The next generation of renters is looking for communities that offer solutions to make their lives easier.
For apartment owners and managers who have neither the capital nor even the demand for some of the over-the-top amenity features that exist today, Luxe is easy to implement and requires no up-front investment.
How does Luxe work?
The mobile app available for residents is conversational, just like a text message. Luxe makes it painless to chat and book, confirm, modify and pay for services. You can even ask questions, all from the chat screen through a normal conversation — without extra screens, buttons, or complicated steps.
What’s the story behind how you decided to create Luxe?
The original “Ah-ha!” moment came over a year ago when I had just moved into a new apartment. After getting everything moved in — during a huge rainstorm — I discovered I had electrical outlet issues in one of the bedrooms, and in the meantime the rain had done a pretty good number on my brand new hardwood floors.
I reached out to management about the electrical issue, and they said maintenance would swing by the next day while I was at work to take care of it. When the maintenance guy came to fix the electrical problem, he mopped and waxed all of the main areas completely, instead of just wiping up his footsteps from the rain!
When I came home and opened my door to see the floors shiny and clean, it was the best feeling! After that experience, I just kept thinking, “Why isn’t this a thing?!” Why don’t apartments directly offer cleanings and services to residents? It’s super convenient, and people would pay extra for it — I know I would.
When I looked into similar solutions, they did exist — but none of them were convenient, and ironically it took a lot of time to arrange cleanings, or even just to get a quote on price for my place.
From there, it was just one of those ideas that I couldn’t shake — it was stuck in my head. What gave me the confidence to start was that I knew I was capable of a few things: A) Selling a concept and a brand brand that would attract people and B) Creating a website using basic plugins which would allow users to quickly book and pay for services. When I started this journey, this was just going to be a side hustle…But fast forward several iterations, and here we are!
Being a founder of a startup can be difficult. How has the program helped you become a better leader or helped you better handle those challenges every founder faces?
During the program, the accelerator team takes a unique approach to help founders self analyze our communication and leadership styles. This is very important as teams grow. Learning (or not learning) early, as a founder, the most effective way to communicate and lead your team based on your natural communication styles, strengths, and weaknesses can be fatal to your startup as you try to move quickly.
What has been your biggest takeaway or benefit from the program so far?
So far, the program has helped tremendously. We’ve been able to connect with so many resources in a short amount of time that we otherwise would not have been able to leverage, and our corporate sponsor, Sprint, has been awesome.
It’s been great having Luxe in the Corporate Accelerator this year. Don’t forget to RSVP to our community event to come meet the Luxe team on May 10th! Register here if you haven’t already!