As the chairman of a commercial building Peter Mansour was getting frustrated with the lack for information and poor communication between the strata manager and the tenants.
So he banded together with his sisters and created Strata Alert, a web-based community forum where tenants can communicate with their strata managements and neighbours.
“As an owner, I always just wanted to know what was going on with my own property that I just feel we needed to do something about it,” Mansour told Which-50.
So 18 months ago they applied for their minimum viable product grant and had a soft launch less than a year ago.
The purpose of Strata Alert, according to Mansour, is to have an easier and more efficient way to communicate with strata managers.
Available both on smartphone and desktop, if occupants identify any strata issues such as cleaning, security or parking they create a “ticket” within the app which notifies the strata manager.
He said, “It’s designed for the strata managers and to be able to reach out to every worker in an office building or any resident in a residential complex and make sure they’re aware of issues that affect their productivity at work, or the at home.”
The app allows strata managers that oversee more than one building to see all their properties on Strata Alert. All they have to do is search for the property and add it to their account.
When a new tenant comes into a building that is managed by Strata Alert, they will be invited onto the platform regardless if they own the individual apartment.
Mansour said the company is in the early stages with 15,000 customers using the app either in residential or office buildings.
Currently, there are 316,227 strata schemes and 2.58 million lots around Australia, according to the Property Council of Australia.
The app has caused buzz in other countries like the US however Mansour is just focusing on the Australian market before he officially launches overseas.
Mansour said the feedback from the app has been nothing but good news. He said users are saying “how have we ever lived without it?”
One of the major challenges Mansour faces is changing the behaviour of the strata managers when it comes to adopting new technology. They move “like glaciers”.
He explained, “They haven’t really adopted new technology. They have in more recent years, with some competitors coming into the marketplace to sell properties and do things like that.
“From our perspective, strata managers themselves are very much like retailers when they said no one will ever buy on the internet, no one will put their credit card on the internet.”
Mansour said the business is designing the platform to increase the adoption from strata managers.
“Our challenge is changing the behaviour of the strata managers to understand that your owners and occupants want to use this technology. Because the average price of an apartment in Sydney $700,000 and you’re not even offering them smart technology that comes with it.”
For the rest of the year Mansour and his team will be working to change behaviours of strata managers.
Early next year they will start to focus on their subscription model and eventually head to the marketplace to raise capital.
“We are definitely going to go to the marketplace and raise capital to help fast track it. It has obvious potential nationally, based on the current tension that’s in the marketplace.
“Each state government right now is completely creating their own strata commission.
He mentioned the issues with the Opal Tower in Olympic park and Mascot Towers the state government has created a new role “strata conditioner”.
“We would imagine that with this new role and all these issues, cladding, buildings, products and all these building defects. We just see it as a natural progression for the government and councils eventually regulate to have smart technology as part of any strata law.”