Toronto Startup Helps Renters Live Smarter

Since the dawn of Craigslist, technology and real estate have grown in tandem to provide customers with help to find the best home possible. Whether Lovely is steering renters towards the perfect apartment or HomeLight is helping sellers play moneyball with possible agents, startups and angels have provided a glut of services to make the moving process as easy as possible.

One company in Toronto has carved out a niche for itself by working to improve the technology of current renters and owners. They’re called CBM Networks, and they specialize in communication software. Their software, known as COMCOM (contracted from Community Communicator), seeks to eliminate the clutter of most notice boards  by digitizing them, giving residents a direct line to , their property manager, and every other tenant. Vanessa Rosa, head of Marketing and Operations at CBM Networks, explains the impetus thusly:

“Here in Toronto, there’s a huge condo boom, and in condos, you have so many people living in close proximity to each other that are not very well connected. You have a lot of paper notifications hanging up in the common areas or in the elevator—and then you have a lot of notifications about renting parking space, looking for a dog walker. COMCOM® is a platform that brings together an isolated community.”

It’s a subscription-based service, priced at $99/month/ building or the first three screens. Additional screens run $35 a piece to a maximum of 10. If more are needed, bulk pricing can be discussed.   CBM provides the LED screen fitted with media players preconfigured with the COMCOM® software. If there are already screens in the building, the CBM media player will work with any LED, LCD, or plasma screen.

CBM’s clients  use COMCOM® to foster conversation between their tenants. Whether it’s checking in to see if everyone had been following the Olympics, letting tenants know about the 25th anniversary of their company, or just being friendly, use has been active. The screen uses QR codes for interativity—if a post is about an event, scanning it will store it into your calendar. Each post has its own post code, so that notices can be found online on CBM’s website. Residents may post what they like to the system, but the building manager does get final say. Displeased tenants will have to stick to Facebook.

The three members of the CBM Networks team came to the field well-prepared. CBM’s President, Solomon Misghina had his career in outdoor advertising lead him to the concept, which Brandon Nogueira, as in-house tech expert and leader of the development team, helped him iterate. With Rosa on Operations, CBM Networks has over 40 developers working on their products.

Speaking for the team, Rosa is bold in her declaration of what COMCOM® can do for property managers.

“I’m going to make your life so much easier. I’m going to save you time, and I’m going to increase the living experience and the value of your building.”

CBM Networks will have the data to prove or disprove that claim in three to six months. Digital bulletin boards have existed for a long time, but never so literally. With every intention of going international, this is one Toronto business that it will pay to stay posted about.