Prasan Kale, CEO
Prasan Kale, the CEO of Rise Buildings, is an Electrical and Computer Engineer by training, but has worked in real estate throughout his career, focusing on buildings that people live and work in. The major challenge that he kept running into was that real estate technology proved to be a very fragmented experience for the building staff and the occupants who use it. “Think about things like visitor management, package management, room reservations, paying rent, or connecting with your community. These were fragmented solutions being sold in the industry by multiple software and hardware vendors,” he remarks. He believes that this approach is cumbersome and outdated and expensive, as all the software or hardware vendors have to be paid for their services. To address these challenges of un-integrated solutions for smart buildings, he conceptualized and established Rise Buildings. The company offers its namesake robust occupant experience and property operations platform that consolidates multiple software and hardware solutions into one, fully-integrated platform. As a result Rise is able to deliver savings from reduced technology spend and greater operational efficiency. The Rise platform also drives higher retention and enables ancillary revenue opportunities through amenity bookings and concierge services. Further, Rise’s data analytics engine allows owners and operators to see and understand critical information about what's going on in their buildings and proactively capitalize on this intelligence. Rise does this while delivering a branded, seamless product that drives both high adoption and high utilization across the building population, including occupants, staff, and management. Rise is currently live in some of the newest and best multi-family residential and commercial office properties across the country.
The Rise platform comes in the form of a smartphone app and a web-based portal for occupants, staff, and management. Creating this ecosystem inside a building, wherein any activity can take place by simply pushing a button, as opposed to communicating through email, phone calls, or in person conversations, enhances the building's efficiency and creates real operating expense reductions. This high level of engagement as a result of having such depth of functionality in the software can create a stream of income for the building that they did not have before. For instance, in many buildings the conference or fitness center cannot always be easily reserved because the system for checking availability is separate from the system for booking, which in turn is different from the payment method. With the Rise platform, an occupant can check the availability of these facilities, book them in available time slots, and pay the charge associated with them in one, easy-to-use location.
This can drive up the number of amenity bookings that occur in a building and reduce the need for management to be involved in the booking. If there's a charge associated with it, that's a stream of ancillary revenue to the building that they didn't have before the Rise platform went live. Apart from the Rise platform’s software functionality, there are also enabling hardware technologies that automate interactions with the building. This includes opening doors at the right moment for the right people, sending elevators only to the required floor for the relevant visitors, and counting population density in a given area so that people can have transparent access to data related to what’s happening in the building.
Other notable features of the platform include a community feed that allows neighbors and colleagues to share social posts, a marketplace where people can sell items, such as sports tickets, to another person in the building. “It's really powerful in that it creates a true sense of community for the building that peoplelive or work in to get to know each other in ways they did not before. There's some great data published that shows, if you create two new friends for someone within a building, they're 40 percent less likely to leave the building at renewal,” states Kale. This phenomenon has a significant impact onoccupancy, turnover costs, marketing budgets, and price premiums for a building.
The dynamic and easy to operate features of the Rise platform have made the company a favorite choice among the biggest names in commercial office and multi-family real estate, many of whom call themselves Rise customers. According to the property manager of one 800-unit luxury high-rise rental building in Chicago that implemented the Rise platform, "Our residents and staff are more engaged than we've ever seen and we have better data on how people are interacting with the building. More importantly, we’re experiencing better performance from our asset. Rise is hands down the best product on the market.”
And Rise’s relevance is only increasing during the current times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform offers touchless, contactless, and conversation-less visitor management, automatically integrating with access control systems, which is the need of the hour. For instance, a visitor can go from the outside entrance of the building to her ultimate destination inside the property without touching anything in the building by using a Rise Pass, which is a QR code provided by the host via the Rise platform. Even if a visitor does not have a Rise Pass, she can gain access clearance via the Rise Kiosk, a fully functional video intercom system integrated with the rest of the Rise platform. It can be used to search the directory and place a video call to the host for instant approval and access. As a result, there is no complex maze of un-integrated systems with multiple profiles and logins to ensure the building's safety. Once a person gains access, the doors open automatically, turnstiles open themselves, elevators automatically register the floor that the visitor is allowed to go to, and that person ends up reaching the desired floor and suiteentry door. And it all happens without touching anything or having to talk to a single staff member. Not only does this avoid the spread of germs through unnecessary surface contact, but it also keeps building staff safe too. In this manner, the entire process of visitor management and access control becomes automated, thereby keeping the staff and building occupants safe.
Rise also manages the access of amenities such as conference rooms, lounges, fitness centers, and more, by occupants in the building. For instance, in a fitness center with a capacity for 100 people at a time, property management can use Rise to limit access to ten people, or whatever number they choose, to maximize physical distance and keep occupants out of harm's way. This functionality eliminates the cost and complexity of having specific personnel stand guard and ensure that only a certain number of people are allowed inside any amenity at a given hour.
In terms of global outreach, Rise Buildings has served around 40 markets across Canada, the US, and the UK, and continues to expand. The company’s robust ability to get the client’s property live under 45 days, irrespective of the physical locations, has helped it flourish rapidly. Moreover, Rise Buildings is a product-led company, and Kale believes that if the product continues to lead in the market, customers will see the value. He concludes on the note of the unique value proposition of Rise, "Our biggest value proposition is that we save our customers 50 plus percent on technology spend on day one while creating a unified experience between building operations and user experience, thereby creating very high levels of engagement.”