2021 Most Disruptive Business School Startups: Tour.video, University of Michigan (Ross)

Tour.video and LeaseMagnets

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Industry: Marketing Tech, Property Tech, Video,  SaaS, B2B

Founding Student Name(s): Amulya Parmar

Brief Description of Solution: Today, most property managers lose 98% of interested leads on their website before they even take a tour.

Tour.video is a digital platform (now backed by YCombinator) that enables anyone to build personalized video tours of their properties. We built our own technology to stitch together multiple videos and lead capture, and for industries like apartments (i.e.: student housing, multi-family), we result in 60% higher lead generation and conversion on their website.

Additionally, through a Canva-like backend for B2B and B2C video, property managers can automate premium-grade video editing for their community video tours.

I started with LeaseMagnets to build a brand in the rentals market, but it is our aim with Tour.video to power more personalized virtual touring experiences for some of the best and most important experiences in the world, whether it would be senior living, restaurants, or higher education.

What led you to launch this venture? Indie films are shot on IPhones, yet many small businesses like property management do not yet take advantage of creating videos on their smartphones to tour and sell their product.

In addition, traditional videos are often hard to distribute and update effectively, so we invented a new video format: ‘choose your adventure’ to make it incredibly easy to deliver highly engaging and personalized video tours at scale.

This solution stemmed from my sophomore apartment hunting experience. It was here that I realized how inconvenient the shopping experience was for an apartment: 1) you need schedule/book a tour for every apartment and 2) take the in-person tour (usually only offered during business hours), confirm pricing on-site (sometimes re-invite all relevant parties to another tour), and then sign a lease.

After coding the first prototype that removed the friction from scheduling a tour and improved the conversion, I began knocking on the door of every apartment on the University of Michigan campus. Eventually, I had our first customer, starting with local apartments here in Ann Arbor, and today we are working with apartments in nearly 30 states (with many of the apartment communities that once said “no” here in Ann Arbor).

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture?

* Power nearly 200 real estate teams’ sales processes, deliver over 20,000 virtual tours each day in almost 30 different states, hitting five figure MRR goals.

* Invited into the YCombinator Official Batch.

* Competed among nearly 250 other Michigan’s startups, and won the Michigan Business Challenge in 2021.

* Built out a career development / intern program with over 10 interns, from the Ross Business School and School of Engineering, who have gone on to get jobs/placements at McKinsey, Bank of America, Ramp, SEC, Google after participating in our internships.

How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? Our current business’s core goal is to remove the friction from day-to-day business marketing and operations in the field of property management through scalably personalized video.

The BBA program complemented with my strong software  competencies has changed my life, introduced me to incredible mentors and team members along the way. I learned a lot from classes in Real Estate (and basic concepts of NOI), speaking in the operator’s language, understanding better business operations for our company, and practicing real marketing frameworks.

Most importantly, the entrepreneurial programs powered by the Zell Lurie Institute program were transformative to our business’ confidence, and opportunities. It has afforded our company the opportunity to both win funding that kept our business going and find mentors like Anne Perigo, Angela Kujava, and Rashmi Menon (+ many others).

Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? I fundamentally believe the greatest gift a class can give someone is the ability to create something new.

MKT 300 (Marketing Management), under Professor Justin Huang, was one of those classes for me. Over the course of five days, my team built out an entire video marketing campaign for relaunching the Victoria Secret fashion runway.

Beyond the classes, one perhaps counterintuitive observation that I have realized is that business classes are most practical in scaling and organizing teams from 10 to 100. Today, from 0 to 10, the only action that makes sense as an entrepreneur is taking immediate action.

What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Peter Allen, the professor who taught legendary real estate investors like Jeff Blau, taught me the importance of just reaching out and got me started in real estate.

When I was a first-year student, I sat in on a few of his MBA real estate classes. Although I was not enrolled in his classes, he considered me one of his students. It was these conversations that helped me develop my first understanding of real estate and, more importantly, my realization that I could make my college education experience my own.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our mission is to help businesses across the United States, including those that were negatively impacted by COVID, open up again more effectively in a virtual format.

If we can remove the friction in the initial shopping and the touring experience for thousands of physical experiences and products, we can unlock $10 billion in value for businesses and simultaneously empower a better customer experience.

Through our Canva-like editor and automated video editing process, we can scalably expand within our target market of property management. And through Canva-like templates, we can easily ramp into other industries.

We expect to innovate our video tour into a sales enablement platform that is a fundamental member of the marketing stack in any marketing and operations team, not just limited to property management, but any product where that initial personalized sales experience or tour matters.


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