Amber Hayes started her Memphis-based technology startup after realizing the traditional property management industry was overdue for a shakeup. “I didn’t plan to start a company, but when I saw an opportunity, my excitement got the best of me, and I dove right in with my co-founder,” she recalls.
After spending several years as a contractor for apartment complexes in the Memphis area, Hayes realized that traditional building management software was clunky, disaggregated, and leaving most tenant needs unmet. This birthed her idea for SecondKeys, a property management software that enables apartments to take complete control of their maintenance, accounting, and admin tasks.
“We had no investors or customers, just a great idea and two fundamental operating principles: keep costs down and make customers happy.” Hayes and her team got to work on an innovative software offering using predictive AI to anticipate property maintenance needs, which saved their customers thousands of dollars a year.
As they charged through lean times before landing larger investments in the business, Hayes and her team relied on free and low-cost digital tools to bridge the gap. Free code bases provided by GitHub, website design tools from WordPress, cloud and data storage from Amazon, and AI services from Google powered her upstart tech company.
As SecondKeys grows, Hayes is worried about Congress pushing legislation targeting large technology companies. She hopes lawmakers will pause before doing something that could inadvertently harm small businesses and startups.
“Congress needs to realize that there is a lot more at stake than just whether a tech company is too big. The tools and services they offer are important to smaller companies, and we can’t afford to see them disappear or rise in cost. Congress needs to pay attention.”