In early 2015, JANIIS didn’t exist. In fact, it wasn’t even on our founders, Jason Hahn and Blake Leszczynski’s minds. They were traveling all over the country learning how to run a property management company.
As they shadowed each employee, the single most common complaint was how frustrated they were with their software. It was slow, confusing, and generally hadn’t been updated in a while. Property management staff were updating their phones more often than the software they used at work every day.
After their travels, Blake and Jason understood that PMCs knew how they wanted to manage their properties, they just needed software that made doing it simple. That’s why, in late 2016, JANIIS was founded.
It’s been quite the journey even in the past few years, but along the way we’ve:
Our goal is to take everything you do as a property management company, from channel management to accounting, and make it uncomplicated. So it’s easier to grow your inventory, increase your margins, and have more profitable properties. All by using a system so simple, you can learn it in an afternoon.
The complete story of why JANIIS was founded. Read on for hilarious experiences, amazing property management companies, and a little bit of panic 😉
In early 2015, Jason and Blake experienced sheer panic as they realized that managing long term rentals, where they previously worked in tech, is not the same as short term rentals. Surprise!
Armed with a playlist filled with Carly Rae Jepson, they hit the road. The goal: Be able to run a PMC. If the person they were shadowing had to step out to deal with an emergency, Blake & Jason wanted to be able to pick up right where they left off. Because how would they be able to help a PMC if they didn’t know every aspect of running one?
Traveling to PMCs all over the country meant Jason & Blake visited some of the USA’s most beautiful areas. If they weren’t addicted to the industry before, they definitely were by the time they wrapped up their travels 6 months later.
There were languid walks on breezy beaches in California. Local beers on mountain porches in New Mexico. Coffee and beignets on the jazz-infused streets of New Orleans. Every PMC had different air, a different vibe, a different culture to soak up. Jason & Blake began to really understand the passion behind creating a business that helps others experience those locations as well.
It wasn’t the places though, but the people that impacted Jason & Blake the most. Not only were they the resident experts, but they were so kind and welcoming that it was impossible not to have the best experience with them. One of our favorite stories happened in New Orleans. Blake ordered water at a bar, and a property manager looked at him incredulously and said “no, you’re not getting that. You’re getting a hurricane.” This ensued. Blake has zero regrets. Wherever you are, hurricane property manager, we all remember you fondly.
In Spring of 2016 at VRMA in Arizona, Steve Milo gave an unfiltered presentation on the demand vs. penetration of vacation rentals in the online marketplace. This only reinforced how Blake and Jason felt: that property managers were the kings and queens of growth opportunities in the industry. During part of the session, the audience was asked what software systems they would recommend. The recommendations were slim to none. There was no software that could keep up with the demand of the industry or the everyday tasks of operating a PMC. Jason looked at Blake. Blake looked at Jason. They were thinking thoughts.
It was around this time that Jason & Blake were offered other jobs with salaries that were apparently very, very tempting. From the way they still geek out about it, we believe them. However, they had just spent 6 months seeing and hearing how software was frustrating PMCs throughout the country. It felt disingenuous to not try to solve that problem before they took other positions. So, instead of taking a lot of money, they liquidated their investments in real estate and put them into founding a tech company. Where every feature developed was inspired by the people and experiences of the vacation rental industry. When asked point blank why they did that, they responded: “We were just really emotionally invested.” People do crazy things for love.
The biggest difference between JANIIS and other tech is that we take the time to learn why something is being done. Then we ask: “Is there an easier way to do that?”. Before we write a single line of code, we make sure our design makes doing the initial task easier, and faster.
Other software systems are produced by watching how someone accomplishes a task (or how they accomplished it 10 years ago), and then creating software that copies, versus improving, how that task could be done.
Our mission is to create products that aren’t copies of anything, and that make everything you do, from channel management to housekeeping, to accounting, simple. Plus, hopefully make you laugh a little along the way
You can’t start a vacation rental software company without a deep appreciation for the people and places of our industry...but having a good sense of humor definitely helps.