Finance Freedom: Simplifying Rental Finances for Stress-Free Living

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In the Boostly podcast episode, Liam highlights Baselane, a game-changing software for US hosts, diverging from the usual topic of direct bookings. He introduces Saad, the head of business development, and Thorben, the co-founder. Baselane, born from Thorben's own struggles as an Airbnb host in New York, simplifies financial management for real estate. Saad, with a background in finance and real estate investment, joined Baselane to create much-needed industry tools. is dedicated to empowering landlords and independent real estate investors with innovative financial solutions and banking built for their needs. Baselane services include banking, bookkeeping, rent collection, and financial analytics, all designed to streamline your property management and investment business

Baselane serves as a comprehensive banking platform for real estate investors, offering a business checking account, virtual accounts, and debit cards without fees, aiming to streamline financial tasks. The platform is free, generating revenue from interest on customer balances, debit card transactions, and commissions from partnered services.

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Timestamps (audio)



[00:00:00] Liam: Hi, welcome along to the Boostly podcast, the podcast that gives you the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get more direct bookends. We're usually talking all about direct bookends, but today we're shining the Boostly spotlight on something a bit different.

[00:00:15] This is for our US hosts. Uh, it's software which sits behind your business and it's an important one. It gives you everything you need to make your rental finances easy. Uh, best of all, it is free. So let me introduce Saad, the head of business development and Torben, the co-founder at Baselane.

Guest Introduction

[00:00:37] And, uh, yeah, I'm excited to dive into this and thanks for joining me guys. Uh, should we introduce, ourselves if we go to Thorben, first of all, if you introduce yourself, where you are in the world and anything you'd like to share?

[00:00:47] Thorben: Yeah. Hey Liam, thanks so much for having us on the show. I'm calling from New York today, Baseline is based in New York.

[00:00:53] So thank you for having us. Uh, I'm, I'm one of the co-founders, as you mentioned, of Baselane, uh, started the company. Um, about three years ago now, and, you know, really the, the, the company and the, the idea for the company, which, which we'll talk about today. It came from my own experience being an Airbnb host, um, being a landlord myself had a lot of financial pain points and, you know, before starting baseline, um, spent most of my career working in financial services and tech, and just saw an opportunity to, to streamline this and make managing your finances, um, easier as a landlord.

[00:01:24] Nice.

[00:01:25] Liam: Nice. And if we move across to Saad.

[00:01:28] Saad: Yes, I'm from New York and recently moved to Atlanta, so I'm now in the south of the United States and my background is actually in accounting and finance and strategy consulting. And I'm also a real estate investor. So that's a passion of mine. And I've been investing for the last five years on about 20 units right now with a mix of long-term and short-term rentals.

[00:01:52] So dabble in a bit of both. And for me, I think like I was. Extremely frustrated with the lack of technology and just tools that were out there. And, uh, I got lucky. I got introduced to Torben through a friend of ours, and he told me that, uh, they were starting this company and they were going to help solve all these problems that I had as an owner and investor.

[00:02:12] So yeah, I decided to, uh, hop on board and help build a, you know, the platform that I need to run my own business.

What is the Baseline?

[00:02:18] Liam: What is Baselane?

[00:02:21] Thorben: Yeah. I can, I can take that one. So no, really what baseline is, is baseline is the number one and the all-in-one banking platform for real estate investors, landlords, for hosts.

[00:02:31] And, we help you streamline and simplify your finances, whether you're a host or a landlord focusing on short-term and mid-term rentals or long-term rentals. And, um, you know, I can tell you a little bit about kind of, you know, how the idea came about. It came from my journey as a host.

[00:02:49] I have multiple Airbnb properties, um, and the way that I was running that was, you know, very, I kind of got into it kind of casually. It was, you know, I had initially, I just started renting the apartment I was living in. Then from there, I kind of expanded and got a few more renters.

[00:03:03] Made a few more investments and had kind of a small portfolio of Airbnbs. And I was focused on, as I think a lot of kind of hosts or people also in the hospitality space, you're focused on running your business, you're focused on managing the property, getting great guests. And that was kind of the part of the business that was fun that I wanted to focus on.

[00:03:20] But then I also have to do the whole financial management of it, right? So, you know, if you're an Airbnb host, you know how it works. You have, your, rent coming in from Airbnb into the platform. And then especially in the US, there's all kinds of kind of tax tracking that you have to do for the deductions.

[00:03:34] You got to, you know, all these expenses, your, your mortgage, your cleaners, um, the people, you know, if you're using a property manager, all of that becomes deductible at the end of the year. And essentially for me, the way I was running this was I had just the, the, the rent coming into my bank account. And then I was kind of manually tracking all of these expenses.

[00:03:51] And at the end of the year, I would have this mess at tax time. And it would just be this massive pain to deal with, um, to, to figure out like, well, what were my deductions? What were my taxes? And the other thing I kind of realized pretty quickly was. You know, while I like running the Airbnb business, I never really knew where I stood from a cash flow perspective.

[00:04:09] So that's kind of where I said to myself, like, is, you know, is this thing profitable? Um, is it growing? Is it going in the right direction? I said, there's got to be a better way to, manage the finances here. And before starting, basically, um, I spent most of my career working in financial services, working in tech, um, in particular, kind of working with large banks to launch new digital financial products.

[00:04:29] And, you know, basically myself and my partner, we said, look, there's got to be a better way to, to build this. Um, and, and then we, we started basically into simplify, um, and, and put all in one place, a banking platform for the financial management of, of real estate properties to help, help landlords, help hosts save time, save money, um, and, and increase returns.

[00:04:48] So yeah, excited to dive into the details of actually how exactly that banking platform works today.

What is the core of the product?

[00:04:53] Liam: Can you give us more idea of. What is the actual sort of core of the product and how does it help the hosts or the real estate sort of owners?

[00:05:01] Saad: Yeah. I think Torben hit on this. So just to kind of summarize how we think about building products, it's giving you back time, but also financial peace of mind.

[00:05:12] And the other thing is like. Management of expenses. So you can reduce and optimize your expenses. So we think about those three things when we're building our products. So what we offer today, our core is a business checking account with an unlimited amount of virtual accounts, and virtual cards, or we can talk a little bit more about what those products are because they're new to this space.

[00:05:34] And, uh, we offer, you know, no fees, no minimums, free wires, ACH transfers, a lot of really cool features that allow you. As an owner to get better organized, but also earn some rewards for that. A traditional incumbent bank won't

[00:05:48] Offer that.

[00:05:49] Liam: Why? Why is all this free? Why, why is it free? Why is there not, a monthly charge?

[00:05:54] Thorben: Yeah. And, and that's a very common question that we get and I, I can speak to that. And, and, Liam, I think you nailed the value prop. It is like, what fundamentally we're trying to achieve is to automate your finances and put the finances in the background so that you can focus on what matters for running your business.

[00:06:08] So now why, why is that free? It's, you know, the baseline is a, is a banking platform, so. The way that we make money is the way that you know, banks make money. Um, our customers hold their balances with us. We are able, we, those balances get hold in a fully FDIC, um, insured account with, with our partner bank. Um, and we are earning, uh, what's called kind of net interest revenue off that.

[00:06:28] So, the vast majority of the interest is shared back with the customers. We pay, you know, very high APYs across the board, much, much higher than any kind of regular bank or even the large banks, um, in the US. And we keep a small margin on that interest revenue. Um, we also, um, as Saad kind of mentioned, um, we have a, a debit card spend platform.

[00:06:47] So on Baseline, you can issue both, um, physical debit cards that you can use to run your business. You can also issue unlimited virtual debit cards. As Saad mentioned, you can issue those to your property managers, your partners, people you work with. You can use them to pay your utility bills, et cetera.

[00:07:02] The unlock there is you can get granular and have a lot of spend control and spend management across your business with these dedicated, um, kind of virtual cards in the spend management platform. And the way that the kind of card, uh, work in the US. And you spend money on based on debit cards.

[00:07:20] The merchants pay a fee for that as with kind of any Visa or MasterCard. So we earn, we earn a part of that fee as well. So again, it's not paid by the customer, but we're making revenue from that. And then the, the other component is, is, um, with, with kind of all of the, um, kind of engagement that we have from our users on the platform we're help we're, we're aiming to help users not just save time, but also save money.

[00:07:42] Now, one of the, if you think of like the big expenses for real estate investors, In that category, there's also insurance. Um, the majority of real estate investors need some form of rental property insurance as well as financing and lending products. We also have partners on the insurance side, and partners on the lending side that we work with to help optimize those financial products for the landlords and the investors on our platform.

[00:08:04] And if you go and you purchase an insurance policy through baseline, then we also earn a commission on that. So all of the revenue, it's, it's transactional revenue, and that enables us to provide the platform for free. Just like, you know, banks are typically kind of frozen as well, with the difference that we don't charge any of these, these hidden fees.

Biggest challenge and win?

[00:08:23] Liam: Looking back, obviously you've, you've, you've gone through this problem yourself. Then you've developed this product, which is then, then launched, but what's been the biggest challenge? And then we'll flip up and ask what the biggest win has been for you. And what did you learn? How did you handle it?

[00:08:40] Thorben: Yeah uh, you know, I mean, we started the company as I mentioned three years ago, as I think in any startup journey, there's a lot of ups and downs. There's a lot of learning that happens, a lot of iteration. I think that the biggest challenge for us, um, is, is always. Um, you know, in a way, it's the biggest challenge.

[00:08:54] The biggest opportunities are our product road map with the vision of what we have, what we want to build the value that we want to provide, um, for our, our customers for our users. There's a lot to build. And, uh, sometimes the biggest challenge is just Understanding and prioritizing all of those things that I can build.

[00:09:12] Where do I start? What is the most important? What's going to provide the most value today shortly? And then what are the things that that longer that kind of further out we're building? So I think that the biggest challenge and this is where we spend a lot of time as a team is. is prioritizing and focusing on where we're adding customer value.

[00:09:29] And, you know, that's a challenge because it's hard to do, but it's also the opportunity because if you do it properly and you do it well, you're unlocking a lot of user value and a lot of user delight, which is, you know, the ultimate goal is, is, is make people's life easier, save time, save money, and ultimately enable.

[00:09:47] Investors hosts and landlords to grow their businesses and not worry as much about the finances.

[00:09:53] Liam: Having a blast going to get it on the Boosley podcast, Boosley like Bruce Lee, because it's so hard on the T is loosely making up those rhymes, don't write it, just do it loosely.