The Zuma Way: Converting Leads into Tenants

It’s either a pleasant experience or one that must be completed as soon as possible. You frequently go on to the next office on the list even if you don’t get an answer from the leasing office, even if it was one you would have considered.

Zuma aims to ensure that any inquiry for information is responded to within minutes, rather than days.

Today, the firm, which uses artificial intelligence to enhance sales engagement, raised $6.7 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, having previously exited its beta period with $6.7 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.

The company was founded by Shiv Gettu, a former real estate consultant, and Kendrick Bradley, a former Boeing and SpaceX engineer who left his job in 2018 to work at a property management firm.

They both saw the difficulties faced by real estate salespeople and decided to create an Airbnb-like hospitality business that grew to $2 million in revenue within nine months.

Zuma, Gettu said in an interview after the pandemic struck, they had long-term leases secured before it. They changed their company into a virtual leasing office with artificial intelligence to automate the movement procedure and launched Zuma, according to Gettu.

According to statistics, the majority of real estate leads tend to come in at night and on weekends, when leasing agents are not usually on site. After half an hour, response gap of waiting until the next business day might account for a 100-fold decrease.

Zuma’s AI-powered agent, Kelsey, responds to complex inquiries about a home in the form of text message to entice any hot lead into becoming a booking customer, even outside of normal business hours.

It also injects a human-in-the-loop aspect if the queries are beyond Kelsey’s capabilities.

“We understood the value of leads and the importance of nurturing them,” Bradley told.

“Text messages engage with prospects immediately. If you’re interested in an apartment, you might not hear back for 48 hours, but Zuma integrates with property management tools and when a lead inquires, Kelsey gives them information on the property and the policies with the idea of them then coming in to view the property and sign a lease.”

Since January, the firm has expanded revenue by ten times and is currently working with businesses like Bungalow.com, which sees a 2.1-times increase in conversion rate after 30 days and a 35-time return on investment.

In its latest investment, Andreessen Horowitz led a group of individual investors including Apartment List co-founder Chris Erikson, former Y Combinator COO Qasar Younis, and Lambda School founder Austen Allred. The new funding round raised Zuma’s total to $7.2 million thus far.

According to Gettu, the firm has established a nice rhythm with its initial product, so the additional capital will be used for new features, staff hires, and market penetration.

Zuma also wants to apply its business model into other markets through sales teams in industries like healthcare, automobiles, insurance, education, and fashion.

“Zuma’s blend between human support and AI creates a magical conversation experience for prospective customers that drastically increases conversion,” Connie Chan, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, shared in a statement.

“The Zuma team has proven their impact for property management teams, and the sky’s the limit as this platform grows to serve and help scale any industry that has leads that require nurturing.”