Simple Strata Solutions Inc. & Stratapress founders Sean Jordan and Paul Vanderzee are disrupting the strata management industry with a comprehensive solution that every BC strata owner can use. Strata owners can own their strata corporation data and help maintain the value of their strata property by having all aspects of their strata in compliance with the BC Strata Property Act, regardless of whether they are professionally managed or self-managed.
In 2024, this powerful platform will launch an AI chatbot assistant for strata management. This innovative tool is poised to transform strata management in BC by streamlining communication, answering common inquiries, and enhancing efficiency. With its natural language processing capabilities, the AI-powered strata assistant can handle a high volume of inquiries and continuously improve its responses through learning from past interactions. This groundbreaking technology will undoubtedly make strata management more accessible and efficient for both strata owners and managers.
With the current platform continuing to add new features and the launch of the AI chatbot, by the end of 2024, the duo expects to represent over 2,000 strata properties and with a base of Strata Owners growing to 50,000 or more. “Moving forward, it will take another $50K – $100K of investment along with landing three additional property management companies (200-300 properties/each), then we should be in great shape to generate enough revenue to hire a few more members of the team,” explains Sean.
Sean Jordan is an award-winning entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in business development, production, and marketing. He has focused most of his career on web-centric startups and real estate. Sean’s development teams have produced award-winning multimedia projects and marketing campaigns for over 300 companies in 30 countries. With a primary focus on project development and management, Sean brings a wealth of creativity and strategy to every endeavour he undertakes.
Paul Vanderzee is a programming specialist, highly experienced in developing innovative, large-scale online applications and networks. Primary industries include real estate and SaaS. Paul has provided programming and design expertise for projects developed by RE/MAX, Real Estate Webmasters, Simple Strata Solutions, Inc., and Marble Financial.
Sean and Paul co-founded SSSI and Stratapress. At the time, Sean had been President of three different strata councils for over 15 years. With a background in developing websites, he understood that a dedicated strata website could quickly provide access to information and documents and give transparent communication options between strata owners, council and management, and that is what he built for each strata. The website worked so well that Sean remained strata council president for a property in Victoria even as he was living in Las Vegas. The website’s efficiency was evident as he was able to effectively serve as the strata council president for a property in Victoria despite living in another country.
The majority of SSSI operations were managed online through the dedicated strata website. “We did everything online with the strata website and it worked so well that I could build a multi-site network of strata websites and sign up 500 to 1,000 of the 33,000 strata corporations in BC and have them pay an annual subscription of around $400 per year. That’s a tidy little business with few employees and little overhead required. This is the business I set out to create when I returned to Canada,” shares Sean.
“While developing the platform, I looked for a local PHP programmer using Craigslist. The only responses I received were from people overseas willing to do the work or people who needed to be qualified, and I rejected all of those offers.”
“Paul Vanderzee responded to my Craigslist ad and we spent three hours in a pub and he has been on board ever since.” They built the first version of StrataPress in 2015. At the beginning, Sean set out to get strata corporations around BC signed up, thinking it would be an easy, but it was not.
He says, “You can’t pick up the phone and call a strata corporation, and property management companies, the gatekeepers to the decision-makers, were hesitant to incur additional expenses for their clients, so they shut the door.”
To address this, they refined the approach. SSSI was re-tooled to offer a comprehensive dual solution tailored for property management companies.
An automation feature for document requests coupled with an intuitive document management system, streamlined the document distribution process to strata owners.
The revenue would be generated by charging a small administration fee for Realtors, Lawyers and Notaries to purchase documents online. They received immediate access to documents, usually taking up to 7 days to receive.
This refining proved to be the win-win scenario the market sought. Property Managers can now distribute and sell strata documents with zero cost and zero loss of revenue; Realtors, Lawyers and Notaries can access documents anytime and download them immediately after purchase.
Strata Owners can access strata documents and communicate with their council and management team.
Since launching, StrataPress.com has processed over 30,000 document requests from over 1,500 Strata Corporations. The Strata Owners Portal currently provides over 25,0000 registered Strata Owners in BC easy access to their own strata documents online.
In 2023, SSSI received a CAD $5 Million valuation from KiwiTech’s Investment Committee, which was significant. KiwiTech is a growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, accelerators, incubators, and corporations headquartered in New York. They help early and growth-stage startups build viable products, drive traction, raise capital, and scale their businesses. KiwiTech is home to 3000+ investors and 500+ portfolio companies across 15+ industries undergoing disruption.
Simple Strata Solutions, Inc. maintains an A+ rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau in BC and is an active member of the Condo Homeowners Association of BC (CHOA) and the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association (VISOA). Furthermore, the company proudly supports the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology, and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC), contributing to the growth and success of the tech sector in the Greater Victoria region.
In 2023, StrataPress was a finalist for the ‘Startup of The Year’ award presented by the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology, and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC).
“Like every 10-year-old, I was broke and trying to get by on a $0.50 weekly allowance. So, as a paper boy hustling for big tips and selling subscriptions, I bought my first bike and car and paid for art college. Along the way, I mowed lawns, babysat, washed trucks for BC Hydro and refereed youth soccer games.
“A bug for photography started at 14 years old, and in the junior high school darkroom, I learned B&W film development and printing.
“That following summer, my uncle – one of Toronto’s most prominent names in commercial photography – hired me to help build a new studio. It was a summer of intense learning and led to my first real business ‘Phat Cat Photographix’ when I was about 19 years old, which led to selling concert photos to Sony Music, Universal Music, and Nettwerk Records.
“A deal with a local rock station kept me in backstage passes for shows in Victoria, BC, and over two years, I shot over 90 concerts. Some of these photos were included in a charity calendar that sold over 10,000 copies.
“We all have those moments in our entrepreneurial journey where we veer off-track with an opportunity that appears to be solid gold.
“For me, it was in the early 2000s. I had an entrepreneurial friend in Melbourne who had found success selling bulk SMS credits through an online text messaging platform he created.
“We could buy 10 SMS credits for a penny and resell them for $0.10 – $0.25 cents each through an online bulk SMS platform he built. We had access to 600 mobile carriers worldwide, and our text messages could be delivered to about 1 billion mobile devices. Remember, this was pre-Twitter or other text apps.
“I brought the bulk SMS platform to Canada and launched it throughout North America. I saw significant sales come rolling in almost immediately, like $5K – $15K per day.
“I thought I was less than three months away from my first million in revenue. I sent tens of thousands of dollars to Australia every few days to buy more SMS credits. (You must own more credits than you sell or be heavily penalized, so it was essential to keep up). Long story short, between credit card companies, international bank transfers, and the RCMP, the whole business turned out to be fraudulent, and I lost over CAD $100,000 on that venture.
“A move to the Sunshine Coast allowed me to invest in and manage vacation property on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
“I joined a resort management startup, bought a couple of oceanfront cabins from a failing resort in Ucluelet and, using some creative financing, launched a rebrand that had all of the strata owners on board.”
“I took care of marketing, and my business partner then took care of the day-to-day business of running the resort. We went from zero to $600,000 in booking in the first ten months, and four years later, I sold my interest and moved to Victoria.
“There was so much opportunity in new media technology that I constantly moved between companies and industries. From freelance photography (1990-1996) to Stratford Internet Technologies (grew the company to 100 employees and over $10M in 3.5 years), and Noise Media (secured $1M in funding).
“These overlapped various SMS/text-related businesses, and launched Avocado Canada Productions in 2000 that focused on marketing and advertising for the real estate industry.
“2009 spawned Digital Concierge (digital screen in coffee shops and hotel lobbies on Vancouver Island), and Order Technologies (Pizza Monsters, LoveClients/Tawk.to), and this led me to Simple Strata Solutions Inc and realizing StrataPress.com nine years ago.”
“I got my first computer when I was 15 years old. All I could do was either play games or learn how to program. The computer group I belonged to had these magazines, and inside them were articles with small games with the programming code, which I would have to type out and then play. I taught myself how to program by changing the code and seeing its effects on the game.
“Over the next 20+ years, I taught myself a lot of different programming languages, obtained a degree in computer maintenance and support, and worked at some great jobs.
“One day, the local Re/Max office hired me for part-time computer support for their realtors. With my programming skills, I helped the other computer tech who was struggling with the realtor website code design and develop much more complicated and sophisticated sites.
“About three years later, I was approached to look at a new business that needed help with its new online platform, and after a two-hour meeting, they offered me a position to rebuild the platform, and 13 years later, the platform is still running!
“Many years later, I saw an ad in the paper that Sean had placed for building a platform for Strata Document Management. It was a great idea because I had recently bought a townhouse, which is a Strata, so I had some understanding of it all. We met for coffee, and three hours later, I left with a new business partner.”
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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