Let’s be honest, Los Angeles, with the entertainment industry, nightlife, weather, the beaches, and of course its Startup scene, is one of the greatest cities the world has to offer. But while so many people pine to move to the City of Angels, it is often logistically unpalatable; fortunately Relocity is here to help. The company that helps you relocate from anywhere in the world, takes care of any issue a new resident may need assistance with. From airport pickup, to information on where to buy a care or send your kids to school, everything is taken care of. With Relocity’s full service guaranteed, there are no more excuses for pushing off your dream of living in LA.
LA TechWatch spoke with founder and CEO Klaus Siegmann about the Startup and how it plans to expand.
Tell us about the product or service.
Relocity is a new company that combines traditional relocation services with high-end concierge treatment to provide the best, most stress-free experience possible for people who are moving to Los Angeles (with more cities coming soon).
What makes our service special is that we provide one-stop shopping, managing the entire relocation project for our clients. This includes everything from selling or leasing your current home, to hiring a qualified moving company, arranging a hotel and air fare for your scouting trip, giving you a tour of the city, choosing the right neighborhood, finding your perfect home, getting your household goods and vehicle shipped, arranging temporary housing, buying furniture, and getting your kids into good schools.
But once you are moved in, Relocity is not done. We also include a suite of lifestyle services that make all the difference when it comes to feeling at home in your new city, including everything from choosing a dry cleaner, to finding a doctor, hiring a personal trainer, or suggesting restaurants you might like.
Moving a life is a lot more complicated than transporting belongings from A to B. Relocity understands that moving is one of the most stressful experiences in life, affecting each individual or family differently. Our method is successful because we customize our services to fit each client, giving them the personal attention they need to acclimate and integrate into their new surroundings.
How is it different?
Relocity is disrupting the relocation industry by providing comprehensive services and a level of care that is not available from legacy providers. A good analogy might be the taxi industry before Uber, Lyft and other car services appeared: consumers did not realize they wanted something better until a new business model arrived and showed them a better way.
Currently, the relocation industry is fragmented, with services being provided by various entities, from moving companies to real estate agencies to RMC’s (relocation management companies). For some of these entities, relocation is not their core business. Others offer limited services, and some are too large and impersonal, with multiple departments and outside vendors operating without sufficient coordination.
Relocity provides a different way. The core of our business model is the “Personal Host”, a consultant and assistant who works live and in-person with the client throughout the move. This host is the single point of contact for the entire relocation, orchestrating all the services and vendors to bring in the project on time and under budget. Because the Personal Host works individually with the client, they also get to know them on a personal basis and can customize their services to fit their particular needs.
At the same time, this approach is less expensive because the host’s services are booked by the hour “on demand.” This approach saves money, because clients are not required to buy large packages of time, as is expected with virtually all existing relocation providers.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Relocation is a $16.3B industry nationally. In LA, there are over 244,000 businesses, and a significant portion of these hire personnel from outside the city. Our clients tend to be innovators who understand the value of acquiring and retaining qualified personnel in a competitive market. Currently, our clients come mostly from the tech field, entertainment, financial services, and business services, but there is plenty of room to expand into more areas.
In addition, over 200,000 individuals move to LA every year from all over the world. Many of these are looking for premium services and personal attention. At the same time, if you are buying a house or moving a medium-sized home, the discounts we can provide offset the costs of our services, so there is significant appeal for the right target group.
What is the business model?
Relocity focuses on helping companies acquire top-tier candidates and retain their valuable employees.
First, instead of devoting costly personnel-hours to managing employee transfers, companies can outsource the whole process to professionals. While this might sound costly, Relocity provides significant savings through our national account agreements and other vendor discounts. Also, as mentioned, our on-demand pricing structure replaces expensive packages of time. Relocity makes sure your employees arrive on time and under budget. And because they have had a positive relocation experience, they are ready to hit the ground running, rather than being distracted or stressed-out.
For employees, the stress of moving is greatly reduced by having the entire project managed for them. In addition, individuals can save money on real estate, because Relocity offers rebates on closing costs and leases for listed properties.
Finally, our service is available to private individuals in the general public through our website at Relocity.com. Before, only top-level executives had access to this kind of high-touch treatment.
Technology is key to the concept, with clients using an online portal to schedule sessions by the hour with their Personal Hosts. Companies have their own portal where they can track the progress of each transferee, including customizable reports of hours spent and costs to date.
From your data, what are the hottest neighborhoods in LA that people are relocating to?
Traditionally popular neighborhoods like Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and the West Side all continue to do well; however, there are a number of more urban areas that are burgeoning because of their proximity to LA’s expanding transportation system. Millennials, especially, are attracted to areas like Downtown LA, Echo Park and Atwater Village, where the development of residential properties has been exponential in recent years. Areas near “Silicon Beach” are also hot, including neighborhoods like Playa del Rey, Fox Hills, Jefferson, and Culver City.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
I started out as an entrepreneur in Germany, where I founded a consulting firm specializing in web development, Internet marketing and e-commerce, with customers like Porsche, Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Deutsche Bank. I later sold the firm to one of Germany’s largest international management consulting and investment firms, where I became a General Manager.
In 2010, I fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving to Los Angeles, bringing my wife and newborn daughter with me. During this process, I became intimately familiar with the benefits and challenges of living and doing business in California. Over the years, I found that people would ask me the secret of relocating successfully to California, which led me to recognize a need for relocation services that are more comprehensive and personal than what is available in the marketplace.
Drawing on my expertise in business development, I began to re-think the relocation business and how innovation and technology could make the relocation process less stressful and more adaptable. I realized I could leverage my expertise in online marketing and business systems to combine the best of technology with personal service, and Relocity was born.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
LA is a remarkable town for entrepreneurship, with a great number of associations and resources available to startups and larger companies alike. Maybe it’s the long history of people moving here to reinvent themselves, as well as the creative influence of the entertainment industry, but Angelenos simply seem open to new ideas, and excited to experiment and participate.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Since our launch, we have had great success getting clients from the tech industry, entertainment, finance and other sectors. Our immediate goal is to broaden our footprint in the LA market.
Within six months, we also plan to open a Relocity location in San Francisco, with locations in New York, Chicago and other cities already in the planning stages.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
Fortunately, we are a seven-figure self-funded startup, which gives us a level of independence that allows us to innovate and maneuver effectively. However, if the right strategic investor comes along who shares our vision for growth, then we would be interested in starting a conversation.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
Of course, we are in the business of promoting LA as a wonderful place to live, so naturally there is a great synergy between our product and our personal lives. Being from LA is an essential part of our brand! All of our Personal Hosts are either native Angelenos, or have lived here a long time, giving them the expertise and experience to make great recommendations to newcomers. As with any large city, there are inevitably challenges; but there are also incomparable opportunities. The trick is to mediate the challenges and optimize the good stuff. The way we see it, if you don’t love living in LA, you’re not doing it right!
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles, unlike Silicon Valley, is missing a platform where C-Level executives from startups can meet, exchange ideas and network. I would be interested in getting something like this started.
What is your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
Laurel Hardware on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood has a great bar/restaurant atmosphere and a beautiful back garden patio.