Renters are increasingly using their phones to search for apartments online, and now Riley wants to follow up on your online leads by reaching them on their phones by text.

When a lead comes through, apartment hunters are sometimes left for a few hours or days waiting to get a response. By that time, they’ve usually moved on to the next apartment. Riley, which can integrate with just about any lead source including sites like Zillow, texts a lead within two minutes at all times of the day and starts asking initial questions to pre-qualify the potential renter so the agent isn’t wasting time on a lead that won’t fit the bill. It also asks for specifics, such as square footage and number of bedrooms or bathrooms, to determine what the consumer is seeking.

Daniel Ahmadizadeh launched Riley last June in hopes of reaching renters, especially millennials, in the way they most prefer communicating--texting. The launch of Riley gave renters a phone number they could send a text to and Riley would respond with questions about when and where they were looking to move.

At first, Riley wasn’t meant to be a stand-alone product. Ahmadizadeh had intended for the service to bring traffic to his listing website Rentity. But with the success he’d experienced, Ahmadizadeh went with Riley full force, linking with brokers and starting pilot programs with a few property managers.

In the fall, Riley was accepted into Columbia University’s Almaworks startup accelerator for entrepreneurs, where Ahmadizadeh and his team realized this service really puts the power in the listing agent’s hands. They quickly switched from a business-to-consumer strategy to a business-to-business plan.

Now, users still get to experience the ease of the service and quick response time, without even knowing that they’re talking to the service. The team at Riley can simply get the conversation started on the agent's behalf. In their demo video, they show just how easy it is for brokers and leasing agents to use it.

Ahmadizadeh hopes to keep the momentum going with more pilot programs for brokers and property managers. For now, Ahmadizadeh and his team are offering a few temporary trial periods so firms can learn how Riley works. The pricing starts at $25 per agent per month, increases to $75 a month for teams of up to four agents. Aditional agents after four are $6 each.

While some may shy away from that expense, Ahmadizadeh says it’s not expensive compared with the money lost when a lead signs with another property because your manager or leasing agent never contacted them. “If Riley could help retain leads and nurture them,” he says, “the bottom line is impacted and the ROI of our product is clear.”