BetaByte: VelaView

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VelaViewBeta Byte is a series underwritten by Bust Out Solutions for that early stage tech found somewhere between idea and traction.

What is the name of the company and/or product?

Our company is VelaView at velaview.com, @velaview and facebook/velaview.

What problem does this solve and what was the “aha” moment? How does this create value?

VelaView provides financial tools that help income property buyers learn, evaluate and succeed.

Imagine you’re looking for a house, condo, duplex or vacation rental. You’re thinking about buying and renting to others, but will you make – or lose – money? Is it a good deal? Our website helps customers run the numbers with user-friendly tools and visuals. Most importantly, we help income property buyers make informed decisions and create better deals.

Many people are interested in income properties, but lack know-how and reliable tools to evaluate. We launched our site because there was no existing solution, only clunky spreadsheets or complex software for commercial real estate.

Bust Out

Who is on the team?

Founder Joe Gillespie, MBA, CPA (inactive), is a finance leader and entrepreneur who develops decision-support tools to enhance profitability. He has a proven track record of successfully analyzing and making recommendations on corporate financial investments and mergers/acquisitions. His background includes extensive experience in financial analysis, auditing and accounting for corporate and Big 4 accounting firms. He’s a US Navy veteran.

Founder Susan Gillespie, MBC, is a marketing leader and entrepreneur who combines her knowledge of marketing, market research and communications to cultivate and leverage customer insights. Her background includes experience in B2B and B2C marketing strategy, market insights and brand management. Follow her @JourdanGroup.

What is the specific technology or combination of technologies is used? Is there any IP?

VelaView holds a provisional patent application. The site is built on a cloud-based platform with responsive design. It combines powerful financial tools and custom calculators with a streamlined, user-friendly interface organized around a unique visual portfolio.

What is the size/scope of your market and how will you scale?

We target real estate buyers who purchase residential properties that can generate rental income.

One of three US homes is purchased as an investment or vacation home. In 2013, purchases represented a third of real estate transactions, or 1.8 million of over 5 million homes sold. Of those purchases, 50% of investment property and 23% of vacation home buyers plan to rent. Many more consider the idea.

We also target real estate agents, brokers and property managers with a pro version that incorporates branding and custom marketing. The site can scale to handle additional traffic and increasing user base.

What is your revenue model?

We offer monthly and annual subscriptions for individuals, pros and groups. Visitors can sign up for a free account. We also have a licensing option.

What is your greatest strength?

A combination of financial expertise, investment experience and knowledge of how to start and grow a business. This is our second venture. We launched our first business from the ground up, so understand the vision, time, money and commitment required to first survive, then thrive.

Successful business is about focusing on the numbers, and we’re confident we can help others while offering an engaging experience.

What is your biggest weakness?

We have a new brand, so we lack name recognition. Our challenge is marketing and reaching prospective customers. We’ve had positive exposure as speakers and exhibitors at national conferences, including HomeAway Summits, and we’ve learned that prospective customers have high levels of engagement with the subject.

What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?

Our ultimate goal is to provide a holistic customer experience that integrates real estate search and connects consumers more broadly with resources to buy, sell, finance and manage income properties seamlessly.

We’re looking for like-minded collaborators. Real estate and personal finance technology is rapidly evolving, and we’re excited about empowering consumers and being part of the change.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

We have a new interview series with income property owners, including vacation rental investors, featured on our blog. People dream of buying vacation homes, and we share tips from rental owners who’ve turned opportunity into success. Our first post comes from the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. We hope you’ll check it out.

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