Most innovative ideas are usually conceived when people experience a problem and cannot find a solution that meets their requirements. It then requires someone brave enough to take that first step to create an ideal solution that will solve an existing problem, someone, just like our founder!
brightLET was created shortly after a serious family illness that occurred in 2015. Back then, our founder, Camran Khan, was working in the Media/Marketing sector in London, consulting for FTSE100 and high-end brands by helping them provide automated scalable solutions for online technology.
One day, Camran received a call from his mother to inform him that his father had suffered a heart attack (don’t worry, he is OK!). At the time, Camran’s father managed his own property portfolio, however, upon returning home, Camran was told by his mother that he now needed to manage these properties. Naturally, Camran was reluctant, after all, he had a stable career in London and didn’t want to give up his day job, but in the end, he had no choice and ended up taking on the task of managing his father’s property portfolio.
Assuming this would be an easy task, Camran instead found that tenants were contacting him during office hours with property issues that they expected to be addressed immediately. Being busy with his day job, Camran could only respond to tenants during his breaks or after office hours. Having to work 9 to 5 shifts, as well as manage several properties, soon became very inconvenient. Moreover, being a new landlord, Camran was afraid to fall into any legal or compliance issues. All of this meant that the only option he had was to hand the property portfolio over to an estate agent.
At the time, some of Camran’s father’s properties had been re-mortgaged and were on an interest-only rate. If you calculate an interest rate-based mortgage, plus a 10% management fee from the estate agent, then as a Landlord you are losing out on great rent yields. However, if you have a large property portfolio, the numbers stack up well as you accumulate rents from a number of properties. So, the disadvantage of using estate agents is that they eat your profits (large property portfolio x 0.1% management fee).
Nevertheless, Camran believed that using an estate agent was a great decision, as he thought that he would no longer need to deal with any tenant issues, since the day-to-day management of properties/tenancies was the responsibility of the estate agent, meaning Camran could again focus on his career.
Little did he know, however, that the estate agent would be calling him regularly to inform him about maintenance issues at his properties and to ask him what to do about them. Added to this were the constant voicemail messages informing him that tenants required an immediate response to such and such an issue and that he needed to get back to the estate agent ASAP. This all had Camran wondering why he was paying the estate agent a management fee, whilst still having to deal with tenant issues.
At around the same time (in 2015), cloud computing had become industry standard for Internet-based systems, with many businesses by now investing large amounts of time and money, to migrate to the cloud. So Camran, who specialises in automated systems, has always believed that if any manual process takes more than 3 minutes then try automating it, as it would save companies huge operational costs and overheads, and so this is what he set about doing with brightLET. In fact, this is one of the reasons why Camran was shortlisted as one of the Top 10 Disruptive CTO’s in the UK in 2015.
Camran, therefore, started to research a solution for landlords and tenants that he could use on a day-to-day basis to manage his father’s properties/tenancies. From his research, Camran found that there were some off-the-shelf products available but these were very limited in what they could do, for example, they focused only on tenancy, or only on management or only on property-related reminders. Furthermore, a lot of the landlords making use of these products were complaining about poor usability and an outdated user interface.
There was not (and there still isn’t, yet!) a 360 solution that covered every aspect of a tenancy, that was managed from one centralised location, that was accessible from anywhere in the world, and that connected a landlord with tenants and tradespeople.
Back then, Camran lived alone in a 1-bedroom apartment in London, and he decided to sacrifice his evenings and weekends and set himself the challenge of coming up with a solution that cuts out the middleman, saves on laborious paperwork, saves on landlord fees and gives landlords complete control over their own portfolio at anytime, and from anywhere in the world i.e. a virtual management system, with all the important alerts, in real time. Camran believed that using an estate agent was simply an outdated practice for which there was no alternative when it came to letting or renting for a landlord or tenant respectively.
One of the key goals of creating the brightLET platform was to incorporate Camran’s own frustrations as a landlord, alongside market research from fellow landlords, into what they would like to see in such a platform. To quote Camran himself: “For the mass consumers using technology, it has to be as simple as possible and user-friendly. The real reason why a lot of technology companies fail is because some guy has had a crazy idea and just wants the idea to be born without conducting any real market research to find out what an end user actually requires”.
Camran thus started the development of the brightLET platform in March 2016. Throughout the development, Camran involved other landlords to get their feedback for improvements, as well as to research new features to implement. In November 2016, brightLET was born (beta launch), and a focus group was held for landlords to test the product and provide feedback. This initial feedback was constructive and improvements were made to have a final product ready in January 2017. A further focus group was held with 99% of landlords who used the platform saying that it was very easy to use and that it has made their lives easier.
To date, brightLET has been used by over 350 landlords, who have uploaded over 200 properties, of which 600 rooms have been let by over 900 tenants. If it hadn’t been for our founder’s family misfortune, brightLET would not exist today.
Our vision is to create tools that will make the end user’s life simple by allowing them to rely on these tools on a day-to-day basis - lettings at your fingertips! We want to become the main players in the market for property rental and we strongly believe that we have a solution that will disrupt the market on a global scale. This is just the beginning of our vision, and we have many phases that will always keep us ahead of our competition. We have a highly dedicated and talented team that is very passionate about our platform and works hard to create an open and harmonious environment where we can develop both as a property management solution and as a company.
Thank you for reading our story. We look forward to welcoming you to the brightLET family!