UPDATED: July 2, 2:20 p.m.: A decade after starting Nestio to help landlords manage their rental portfolios, co-founder Caren Maio is stepping down as the company’s chief executive.
In a widely-shared email, Maio said the company was rebranding as Funnel, and that COO Tyler Christiansen would take over as CEO. Maio will move into the role of president and chairman.
“This is just the beginning,” she promised, adding that the company hit an “inflection point” in its growth.
“This is a move designed to take Nestio, now Funnel, into the next phase of our incredible journey, as we continue to scale our revolutionary automated leasing platform nationally,” she said.
When asked during a brief phone interview whether she stepped down on her own volition or was pressured to, Maio said: “My stance is that I have in the past, and today will continue, to always do whatever I can to support the business 100 percent. From where I sit and Tyler sits, that’s what this move is designed to do.”
Founded in 2011, the company provides real-time inventory management to big landlords. It also has marketing and leasing products, including an AI-powered software that responds to potential renters in real time. To date, the company has raised $16.4 million, including a $4.5 million strategic round from Rudin Ventures, Moinian Group’s venture arm Currency M, the Durst Organization, LeFrak Ventures and Lightstone Group affiliate Torch Venture Capital.
But the company has not disclosed additional funding since that round, which closed in 2018, even as competitors have rolled out competing tools to streamline leasing.
Last summer, the company launched Funnel by Nestio, an online leasing platform that gave landlords instant access to renters’ financial information. At the time, Maio said online payments were part of the long-term strategy. “It’s like TurboTax or Rocket Mortgage for leasing,” she said at the time.
In the email, Maio said she would be focusing on “evangelizing” the company message, building inclusivity and culture initiatives and supporting the acceleration of the business.
She said 2019 was an “explosive year” for the startup, which saw a triple-digit growth in sales and partnerships with major multifamily players.
“It’s at this inflection point that the company now finds itself,” Maio said. “We are poised for incredible growth and we want to position our team to navigate this growth and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.”