The founder and CEO of brightLET turned a family crisis into a business triumph with an award-winning online property management and lettings platform
They say that all the best ideas are born from adversity, and that is certainly true for Camran Khan. When a family illness left him in charge of his father’s portfolio of properties, he found himself engulfed in a logistical nightmare of trying to deal with tenants, tradespeople, contracts and costs. But it also led to him setting up brightLET, the award-winning cloud-based property management and lettings solution.
Since launching in 2016, Birmingham-based brightLET has claimed a number of national business and entrepreneur awards and is making life easier and quicker for hundreds of landlords across the UK. The platform provides a multi-user access service which allows its users to advertise, find a property, communicate, manage tenancies and deal with any trades needed without using a third party.
Landlords can use brightLET to manage directly with their tenants, schedule maintenance and repairs, track payments and handle any other issues. And due to the fact that no management agents are needed, Camran says the cost savings work out at an average of £450 per property, per year. Currently brightLET is used by more than 400 landlords and 1,000 tenants in Birmingham and the Midlands, London and Manchester – and the numbers are growing all the time as word of the platform spreads.
“One of the key goals of creating the brightLET platform was to incorporate my own frustrations as a landlord, alongside market research from fellow landlords,” explained Camran. “I found that we all had the same problems of having to go through third parties to manage our properties.”
Camran was working in media and marketing consultancy in London prior to the family crisis, helping FTSE100 and high-end brands by providing automated scalable solutions for online technology. He took that tech know-how and started the development of the brightLET platform in March 2016. Throughout, he involved other landlords to get their feedback for improvements, as well as to research new features to implement.
In November 2016, brightLET was born and a focus group was held for landlords to test the product and provide feedback. The final product was ready the following January when a further focus group was held with 99 per cent of landlords who used the platform saying it made their lives easier.
Camran said: “Our vision was to create tools that will make the end user’s life simple by allowing them to rely on these tools on a day-to-day basis – lettings at your fingertips! We want to become the main players in the market for property rental and we strongly believe that we have a solution that will disrupt the market on a global scale. This is just the beginning of our vision, and we have many phases that will always keep us ahead of our competition.
“We have a highly dedicated and talented team that is very passionate about our platform and works hard to create an open and harmonious environment where we can develop both as a property management solution and as a company.”
Based at Birmingham Innovation’s iCentrium building in Holt Street, the brightLET team is looking to expand and build the business further in the UK in 2018. “The technology has been built so the system is scaleable so we can accept clients from anywhere in the UK,” said Camran. “The UK is a true property hotspot with substantial investment. There is no better market to be in than right here.” Longer term, brightLET would look to scale to Europe and the US, where the rentals market is massive but also where there the tenancy laws are all very different.
Last autumn, brightLET was named Midlands Best Innovative Start-up in the Barclays Entrepreneur awards. And in December, it was selected to join the prestigious Barclays Scale Up UK Programme – a 36-week project to help high-growth start-ups and small businesses develop strategies to accelerate growth and tackle the resulting challenges.
Camran was also shortlisted in the NatWest Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 awards beating 100 competitors in the category of Innovation Entrepreneur.
Camran has three business ‘heroes’ who he says “fill me with a sense of passion for work whenever I read about them”.
1. Ma Yun, known professionally as Jack Ma, the Chinese business magnate, philanthropist, internet and technology entrepreneur, who is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a conglomerate of Internet-based businesses.
2. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, pioneers and producers of electric cars and trucks. Musk was named as one of the most powerful people in the world in the 2016 Forbes List.
3. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin and creator of the ethos of flexible working, motivating and getting the best from team members.