Tech-savvy Latchel helps property managers deliver great service
Tech companies are growing across Pierce County, and Latchel is a great example. The startup provides a 24/7/365 virtual maintenance department for property managers. Latchel Co-founder and COO Will Gordon has found Tacoma to be a great place to cultivate the company’s one-of-a-kind tech solution.
Latchel’s platform fields tenant calls, screens and troubleshoots maintenance emergencies, and sends out contractors. The service saves property managers money and makes getting stuff fixed a whole lot easier for anyone who rents a home.
Since the company was founded in 2016, business has boomed. Latchel is now used by hundreds of management companies across the U.S. The company is on track (once again) to 3x sales in 2022, and it plans to roll out new products and expand its sales force in the South Sound.
Zeroing in on a big headache
Gordon was working at Amazon building its two-day delivery service when his grandfather retired from the family management company. Gordon switched his focus to property management and called his old college roommate, Ethan Lieber (now Latchel’s CEO), to help create the tech-forward business.
The property maintenance arena is complex, and tech has been slow to make its mark on the industry. Gordon and Lieber recognized the need for innovation and drilled down on property management’s biggest problem.
“Maintenance is the number one challenge for property management companies,” Gordon said. “It’s the main reason residents leave properties.” While the issue was basically a coordination problem, there was no single solution to fix it. So, Gordon and Lieber went to the source. They talked with 100 landlords and property managers to find out what they needed.
The place for business
While Amazon initially brought the Los Angeles native to the Pacific Northwest, it was Gordon’s wife who introduced him to her hometown of Tacoma. It was the ideal place to live, start a family, and launch and grow a business.
“The people, investors and city are so accessible and approachable,” Gordon said. “Everyone is ready and willing to listen. There is a hunger to foster growth and development here that you don’t find other places.”
Gordon also found an outstanding pool of talent, including transitioning military members and their families, and graduates of excellent schools. The Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County helped Latchel make critical workforce connections. “You have much richer conversations once you have that introduction,” Gordon said. “The caliber of talent here is great. It’s incredible that we have easy access and can recruit here.”
A big recruitment draw is that Latchel’s workforce is 100 percent remote, a model that was in place pre-pandemic. There are still no brick-and-mortar plans for their staff of 140, although there will be more opportunities for in-person meetings as the pandemic eases.
“This single-tier model allows us to have a unified culture and enables us to recruit the best people from anywhere,” Gordon said.
Gordon would rather help his workers find local office space or co-working space if they need it. “That’s another thing I absolutely love about Tacoma,” he said. “There is a lot of space available for those who don’t have a dedicated home office.”
More jobs and services
To keep pace with soaring sales, Latchel plans to add 30 more people to its sales staff this year. The company also plans to introduce a new product that provides access to capital for residents, property managers and maintenance contractors.
“We’re riding a transformational wave,” Gordon said. “People want their homes working properly, especially when they’re spending so much more time there now. The resident experience is the top concern among property managers. Latchel is the only platform that focuses on that.”