Rentview speeds up rental process helping landlords to rent properties faster

Letting agencies and prospective tenants both benefit from Dublin company’s software solution

Andreas Riha and Colin Napper, co-founders of Rentview: The duo, friends since their teens, both studied auctioneering, and set up a lettings agency in Smithfield in 2004

Making the decision to sell a business is never easy. When that business is a successful one and you are considering selling at the height of the downturn, the decision is even harder.

Having founded Smithfield-based letting agent Dublin Letting in 2004, Colin Napper and Andreas Riha decided to sell the business in 2012 to focus on their start-up, Rentview.

“The downturn had not affected us negatively as we had grown a strong property management portfolio, so this gave us a healthy monthly income. If anything, the downturn stood to us as people wanted to rent rather than buy,” Riha says.

However, the duo felt they were at a point where they had achieved everything they had aimed for with the agency and wanted to create something new.


They had grown the business from nothing to one of Dublin’s largest independent agencies, employing eight full time staff, but it was time to move on.

“The lettings business was a regional play with high overheads and tight margins. Rentview is an opportunity to grow a Software as a Service model internationally, firstly the UK and then beyond,” Riha says.

While the lettings business was doing well, they felt that having the ability to do business on an international stage rather than just a region of Ireland was far more appealing.

“We knew in our hearts it was the right thing to do as we realised the potential Rentview had and it needed our full commitment,” he adds.

The duo, who have been friends since they were teenagers, both studied auctioneering, and set up the lettings agency in Smithfield in 2004.

They first ventured into IT in 2010 with rentcollectors, an online monitoring solution for landlords and tenants.

“A woman came into our office and said her tenant hadn’t paid his rent in seven months. She had money in her account so hadn’t noticed. The tenant had moved to the UK without telling her and she was €7,000 down. It was a lightbulb moment for us.”

“We went online and searched for a developer to create a solution. Eamon Leonard’s name came up. He was the first person we contacted and he came back to us saying he’d develop the solution.”

The business became Ireland’s first web-based rent collection agency.

Reminder text

Landlords could receive a text message and email each month when rent was paid to them, while tenants received a reminder text three days before rent was due.

“We found out how much they liked that service when the texts stopped working for some of them. We had reached the limit in the number of texts we could send, and so some weren’t sent,” Napper says.

That same year, they entered the DIT Hothouse programme in the Docklands Innovation Park, with the aim of refining their idea further.

They also pitched the idea on RTÉ's Dragons' Den tv programme.

"We received some negative feedback from the Dragons, especially Bobby Kerr. Maybe we didn't pitch the idea in the right way," Riha says.

While the Dragons didn’t like their idea, the landlords who used it did.

“The original concept didn’t attract floods of new landlords, but for the landlords who had been customers, they loved it. We processed over €4.5 million in rental payments for our property management portfolio,” Riha says.

The natural progression was to develop the software for other agencies to use and get the same benefits.

From talking to prospective clients, the software evolved from a rent management platform to include property management and accounts management.

Rentview’s transparent cloud-based application ensures that letting agents can manage their rental portfolio with ease.

Agencies can manage their rents through the rent management dashboard and instantly identify late rent payments. They can stay updated on assigned property management tasks, lease renewals and inspections.

They can also rent properties faster, with access to renter profiles, application forms and validated work and landlord references.

“Letting agencies can get hundreds of enquiries for a single property, and going through each enquiry is a time consuming process for an agent,” Napper says.

The new service for renters allows them to create a free renter profile to be seen by verified agents.

The purpose is to allow renters to build a profile, share their renting requirements and upload references with local verified agents to get rentals more quickly.

Already the duo have cornered 10 per cent of the Irish market, and they say Ireland is just the beginning.

There are 1,600 property and letting agencies here, a tiny amount compared to the estimated 25,000 agencies in Britain.

“We make the process a lot more efficient for agencies, renters get matched to vacant units instantly. We also want to give more value to renters. There are one million renters in Ireland and 11 million in the UK. They move every 22 months on average,” Napper says.

The company currently employs six people in Dublin but plans to more than double that number in the next year.