This week Hello Alfred, a resident experience company, announced the acquisition of property management software Bixby. I was especially excited by the news because I am a fan of both companies. I have written about Hello Alfred’s fresh new perspective on multi-family amenities and their amazing human touch in doing so. I have also reported on Bixby’s growth of services that include everything from work order management to tenant engagement.
Now Bixby will be part of Hello Alfred’s holistic services and their recently launched “Powered by Alfred” property management suite of tools. I remember a conversation I had with Alfred’s co-founder Marcela Sapone at one of our events. She told me that her goal was to create the human resources needed to be a full-service property management tool, since that was the hardest part, and would focus on the tech aspect after that. Hello Alfred has done an amazing job executing this plan. They now have “Alfreds” servicing buildings in every major city in the US and are expanding faster than I can keep track of. Now it seems that they are using an acquisition strategy to put together the final pieces of the puzzle.
I called Mark Smukler, co-founder of Bixby, when I heard the news. He told me, “This started with a conversation and has been in the works for months. We want to grow our platform to be as big and impactful as possible and we saw becoming part of Hello Alfred as one of the best ways to do that.” He also told me that, like most everything in life, one of the reasons that his company was attractive to Alfred was due to accounting.
Not the accounting of either of the companies, mind you, but the accounting integrations that they built out for building managers. Mark had worked hard (and spent a lot of money) becoming an integrated partner with Yardi, the biggest property management accounting software. Alfred, on the other hand, had pursued RealPage as their main integration partner. Together they will be able to service buildings that use either software, which encompasses almost every large building in the US. This shows how much “lock in” accounting software has and how important these two companies are to the PropTech landscape.
It isn’t only the Yardi integration that made Bixby more attractive than the other building management software providers for Alfred. Mark and his team have been working directly with property managers for over three years now to understand how to best create tools for their business. I can also say from first-hand experience that Mark is one of the hardest working people I know in the sector. He is known for bringing his laptop into his local bar so he can work long past normal business hours. He works like a first-generation immigrant whose family was chased out of their home for their religious beliefs because that is exactly what he is.
Hello Alfred was created by its founders Jessica and Marcela to be a company that creates value for the property industry with its human capital. In my mind, there are few companies in real estate technology with more valuable human capital than Bixby.