In tenants’ seemingly never-ending battle against leaky faucets and unflushable toilets, Chicago-based proptech startup Mezo announced Wednesday that it has closed a $6 million seed round to further build its AI aimed at improving renters’ experience and reducing the operating costs of single, multifamily and student housing maintenance.
Founded in 2020, Mezo’s seed round was co-led by Chicago Ventures and Building Ventures, with participation from The 81 Collection, as well as angel investors. The company’s 19 full-time employees operate remotely, and it plans to expand its tech platform and geographical reach with the new funding.
Mezo uses AI to crunch information to resolve repair issues in one trip to a property, according to co-founder and CEO Michael Travalini.
“We started late 2020 in a proof of concept with one owner who loved the idea of wanting to optimize his technicians and who gave us a lot of creative license to get to MVP [minimum viable product] with his technicians, residents and data,” said Travalini.
Delivered through “Max,” its 24/7 virtual maintenance user interface, Mezo’s technology applies AI-driven efficiency with trade expert knowledge to simplify and speed the repair process for property operators and residents. By reducing the number of visits and the time it takes to make repairs, the technology reduces costs for owners and is more efficient for tenants, according to the company.
“We are hyper-focused on the intake point of the worker, where getting good information and having a thorough understanding of the problem really unlocks the black box that is maintenance today,” said Travalini. He added that his experience observing workers respond to tenant repair requests led him to create Mezo.
“I had 120 technicians on staff when I was at Waypoint [Homes, now known as Invitation Homes], going around the country,” he said. “I would fly to regions and ride along with these guys. What would happen almost every time is we’d roll up to the house, the technician would look at the work order, we’d go in, and within a couple of minutes that resident would describe the problem. It wouldn’t necessarily be in line with a work order.
“Very often the technician didn’t have the information or the parts that he needed to be equipped to solve the job, so we got back in the van, went to Home Depot, got the right kind of flapper belt for their toilet issue, and went back to install it. What should have been a 15-minute visit ended up taking an hour and 15 minutes with a Home Depot trip in the middle.”
To date, Mezo has processed more than 25,000 work orders. It claims 99 percent intake accuracy, a 30 percent reduction in time to dispatch a technician, and an average 25 percent reduction in overall resolution time, according to the company.
Mezo’s technology serves more than 70,000 residents of single-family rental, multifamily rental, and student housing properties owned and operated by customers such as Mynd Management, Tricap Residential, WF Investments, Darwin Homes and others. The company integrates with real estate platforms such as Entrata and Source7, as well as continuing to expand other partnerships.
Philip Russo can be reached at [email protected].