INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Gryd – A Canadian PropTech Start-up Paving the Way for Industry Growth
Josh Glow, managing director at Grydtells us about the technology that is driving the property industry.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Josh Glow: Good! Things were first locked down here in Canada in March 2020, and we went through two waves of lockdowns but with the vaccine rollout, we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tell us about you and your history with Gryd.
Josh Glow: I started at Gryd three years ago in its infancy. I was finishing up a bachelor of commerce degree in the evenings while running Gryd full time. I saw a lot of potential in the company’s trajectory with the brand’s relationship w/ Canadian multi-family and commercial real estate opportunities to provide innovative products to a traditionally old-school sector.
How does Gryd innovate?
Josh Glow: Gryd is a Canadian-born startup committed to driving property tech-forward. Our suite of services for the property management industry is segmented into 3 divisions. GrydDigital provides media and marketing solutions to REITs, property managers, and owners across the country. Acting as an extension of national marketing departments, we assist in filling listings faster with more qualified tenants using cutting-edge media technology like virtual reality, 3D tours, photo and 3D virtual staging, and more. GrydRent’s website rentwithgryd.com is an award-winning search platform for prospective tenants looking for a new home and allows property managers a way of seamlessly communicating with them.
GrydPark is changing the way people park – enabling drivers to find and pre-book parking spots through our advanced parking marketplace app. Our platform utilizes previously unavailable spots from the Property Management industry and allows for easy and affordable access to those spots with the touch of a button. We try to always stay in a forward-thinking state of mind, anticipating the needs of our clients and exploring how technology can bring value to them in new ways.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Josh Glow: We experienced an uptake in interest for some of our product offerings that were solving a specific need during COVID
- Potential tenants were uncomfortable viewing apartments in person, or in some instances were unable to attend in person at all, and our product allowed tenants to have a fully virtual leasing experience from the comfort of their own home
- Because of this, commercial and multi-family real estate owners were quite interested in one of our products – one which captures 3D assets within buildings, its amenities, units, and exteriors.
- Property managers appreciated that the ability to have a high-quality way to show units virtually meant that they were having less traffic through their buildings and exposing their property managers to fewer people.
Being fortunate enough to have a product that was in demand during the pandemic meant that we were able to continue growing and had the capacity to redirect some of our resources into new prop-tech product developments during this unique economic time. Specifically, this gave us the opportunity to build GrydPark, an advanced parking marketplace connecting drivers to available parking spots.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Josh Glow: With an increase in work, it’s been essential for us to ensure that our processes and resources are reinforced. This meant also having to rapidly hire, onboard, and manage employees remotely. Finding the balance between checking in enough for the employee to feel supported but not inundating them with video calls and also monitoring everyone’s workloads to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed has been a learning process.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Josh Glow: We were well equipped for moving to remote work as we’re immersed in the Google platforms. This has been helpful for cross-departmental communication and resource management.
In our industry (prop-tech) there are a lot of shiny objects and opportunities for collaboration, but it was important for us to stay focused on our niche and make strategic decisions around the development of new products and partnerships.
One thing that has aided us in keeping our focus in the right place has been that with every new product or opportunity we are constantly referring back to our core vision and mission and ensuring that whatever we are spending resources on fits within those parameters.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Josh Glow: We have competitors that offer individual products or services that compete with our products and services but where we are unique is our ‘one-stop-shop approach, we are a single marketing vendor for clients where they can speak with a single account executive and have all their marketing and media needs to be met.
We stay in the game by living our core values of always being forward-thinking, and relationship-first focused. This helps us anticipate the needs of our clients and identify areas to continue to bring more and more value to them as we grow.
Your final thoughts?
Josh Glow: We are really looking forward to seeing how the tech start-up community evolves, specifically in our industry. Throughout history, difficult times have led to some of the greatest innovations. I’m excited to see how we can collaborate with other start-ups to immerse ourselves in new areas of tech.
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