Matt Angerer of VerticalCloud
Meet Matt Angerer, founder of VerticalCloud, a real estate software company.
What is VerticalCloud?
VerticalCloud is the company behind two leading-edge real estate SaaS (software as a service) products, VerticalRent
. I founded VerticalCloud in early 2011 and we continue to gain traction in the real estate vertical market.
How did you come up with the idea?
I am an IT professional by day and a landlord by night. I was frustrated with cumbersome and expensive platforms for tenant screening. So I decided to partner up with a few of my colleagues and build a product ourselves. VerticalRent and AppSingular were born.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
Compliance rules in our industry are very strict, taking us much longer to get off the ground. Although we founded VerticalCloud in early 2011, it took nearly two years to get a SaaS product off the ground and profitable due to all of the compliance regulations we needed to adhere by.
Where did you find your first employee?
The realtor who helped my wife and I buy our home in Westerville, Ohio was our first employee. He is a sales agent who helps us demo and sell our product to property management firms and landlords.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
It’s very high-paced. As a small business owner, I wear multiple hats. For instance, today I was writing a blog entry to increase SEO visibility on our website, while on a phone call with our insurance agent to obtain E&O insurance on our products. This afternoon, I have a few partnership calls and then I am also designing a newsletter campaign to upsell a few upcoming features we’re releasing into VerticalRent. I love it, though, and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
We were lucky enough to team up with INC@8000
. Tom Guy runs the incubator and he prides himself in recruiting high potential companies. New Albany is where the incubator is located at 8000 Walton Parkway. The advantage to doing business in central Ohio in particular is the network of IT professionals and real estate gurus in this town! Columbus makes a perfect test market.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?
INC@8000 was a huge help to establishing ourselves. They partner up with TechColumbus
to provide startups like VerticalCloud with sound advice. It really helps to have folks who care about your success and serve as sounding boards.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
Positive things seem to happen when you set your mind on an outcome. When we first got started in early 2011, we branded as our product as RentCloud. Lo and behold, another competitor wanted that name and we got into a trademark war with them, so we decided to rebrand as VerticalCloud for Landlords. Before long, we decided to re-brand again as simply VerticalCloud as the company name and spinoff separate product names that are powered by VerticalCloud – VerticalRent and AppSingular.
What’s amazing about our journey so far is that people don’t really care what you call your product, in my opinion. They care more about the quality of the product and the people behind it. Looking back, I wouldn’t have fretted so much about the name of the product and just focused on building high quality software.
What inspires you?
People with a vision inspire me. I believe in the law of attraction. Whole attracts whole. I want to surround myself with visionary people who want to make the world better with technology. I am noticing that my kind
is few and far between, though, so I typically don’t find myself in large crowds of like-minded folks. My idea of inspiration is the opposite of 9 to 5 stability. I would rather take risks in life to achieve something great, rather than stand on the sidelines like a wallflower in a job that isn’t satisfying, or work for a boss who isn’t confidence inspiring.
Can you share some of your favorite off-time activities or hobbies?
I am into many different things. I love to weightlift at the Westerville Recreational Center. I also have a gym setup in my basement where I often disappear. I like to mountain bike around Westerville in various areas and enjoy jogging along the trails with my black lab mix, Henry. My wife and I also purchased a boat and often enjoy our weekends on Alum Creek. I also love checking out new restaurants and watching standup comedy. I used to enjoy the night scene and going out for drinks often, but as I enter into my mid-thirties, I prefer the more laid back lifestyle, which is more alcohol-free. Besides, my liver can’t handle that kind of abuse anymore!
What founders do you admire and why?
I often watch YouTube interviews of company founders and CEOs. Of course, I respect visionaries like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. But even more I respect and admire small business owners who take a risk to innovate, employ and drive the American economy. I am a patriot at heart and believe fervently that we should keep jobs in the United States of America. I am anti-offshoring to India, China or other countries that IT jobs are often going for a cheaper price. I believe that the American spirit is still alive and should be cultivated by training our U.S. veterans and youth to fill the jobs here in the United States. Founders whom embrace this notion are the ones that I admire the most.
What’s next for you?
As an entrepreneur, I am always looking to launch the next innovative product. I have a few ideas up my sleeve that we’re working on behind the scenes to compliment VerticalRent and AppSingular. VerticalCloud was founded on the premise of repeatability across vertical markets. Our platform and premier reseller relationship with Experian can be leveraged across other vertical markets.
Interview by Joe Baur