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Recently Acquired Apartment Tech Firm Zego Unveils Artificial Intelligence Bot For Apartments

PropTech provider PayLease recently gained access to a multifamily app and artificial intelligence designed for property managers through its strategic purchase of apartment technology firm Zego. 

Zego's Heath Bideau, Brisha Pote, Sarah Logan, Adam Blake, Lihea Choe, WiIl Stephens and Jonathan Hockman

Through this acquisition, PayLease now has the opportunity to leverage Zego’s AI assistant, or bot, which was recently launched as part of the company’s existing app for apartment managers. 

Through the AI tool, building managers can communicate directly with property tenants through automated messages.  

PayLease, which is backed by tech investment firm Vista Equity Partners, already offers property management companies online payment applications, resident billing and utility expense management tools. The acquisition of Zego simply extends the company's service offerings for multifamily properties

“We recognize that our clients are in need of platform-agnostic, resident-centric technologies that drive increased resident satisfaction and improve operational efficiency,” PayLease CEO Dirk Wakeham said in a statement. “We look forward to providing additional value to management companies by offering a fully featured, best-in-class engagement platform that will allow them to increase resident satisfaction and retention, improve resident communications, automate inefficient processes and reduce vacant unit costs.”

Prior to the announcement of PayLease’s acquisition, Zego CEO Adam Blake discussed with Bisnow his company’s ability to provide tech solutions to meet the ongoing demand for smart home tools in the multifamily segment.

Even before the AI bot was launched, Zego offered apartments an app that allowed residents to lock and unlock doors electronically, adjust lights and change thermostats.  

Bisnow caught up with Blake to learn more about the AI bot and Zego’s branded app for multifamily properties: 

Bisnow: Can you give us a little bit of background on the AI assistant? What is it? How does it work? How is it being leveraged at multifamily properties?

Blake: We’re providing a single app for apartment residents to interact with their apartment, so basically anything that you would need to do, whether it’s paying your rent, chatting with your property manager, submitting a work order, controlling your thermostat. Anything you can really think of, we are trying to make that experience digital and mobile. 

And the iBot kind of lives inside of our app where it can enhance the abilities of the property manager to provide better service to the residents to more efficiently operate their properties. It’s basically a bot that residents interact with, and it does a wide variety of things — everything from helping the resident with questions they might have to proactively doing things on behalf of the property manager.

Bisnow: So, when residents reach out to renew their lease through the app, the iBot can actually respond and say, “We’ll get that taken care of for you?” 

Blake: It’s really more geared to flagging the residents that want to renew. It doesn’t fully automate the whole paperwork process because it varies so much by customer. It’s just the communication between the property staff and the resident regarding the renewal.

Bisnow: Do you think multifamily is having to invest in technologies to compete in today’s marketplace where there is so much apartment product coming online? And what role is AI playing in attracting residents? 

Blake: Smart home equipment is almost becoming a must-have amenity. I would say the majority of new properties incorporate smart home devices. And we are starting to see a lot of these older properties when they are renovated, they’re including smart home technology. 

Bisnow: How does the iBot improve the lives of apartment managers? 

Blake: The AI just enhances all of that, it enhances the capabilities of these managers to kind of get some of the more tedious stuff done and automated in a more efficient way. 

Just prior to Zego’s sale to PayLease, Blake noted that 10,500 apartment units and 13,500 multifamily residents in DFW had access to the company’s technology.

CORRECTION, MAY 16, 5:01 P.M. CT:  A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of apartment units with access to Zego technology nationwide.