We’ve all heard that age-old expression “your home is your castle.” And it’s true. This is where you keep your valued possessions, rest your head, and hopefully find a calm space to breathe. But owning a home or a property is a lot of work, and if you choose to use it as a rental space, then that sense of complication increases exponentially. You’ve got to manage a number of things you may not be used to: the utilities, allowing access, make sure you get paid, and promote your property in the right places. Even for the most seasoned of hosts and landlords, it’s a juggling act. That’s where Enso Connect comes in.
As with some of the best stories out there, the genesis of Enso Connect starts with a road trip with unexpected results. Back in February of 2019, I took a weekend ski-trip with some friends to Mont-Tremblant. We had booked an Airbnb, and upon arrival, we’d discovered that the key was frozen under the doormat. So, we did what anybody who uses Airbnb would do; we messaged the host. No answer. The only way to get access was to use lighters to melt the ice to free the only way into the house. Once inside, we found that the house was freezing and the heating system too complicated to figure out. Again, a message to the host was sent but went unanswered. Eventually, we figured it out and enjoyed the weekend.
When it came time to leave, we checked the app for check out instructions, only to find none. Again, we reached out to the host, only to be met with radio silence. It was only after a 6-hour drive back to Toronto, that we heard back from the host. By then, it was obviously too late to follow the stated instructions, but we left the house as we found it. Days later, we received a disgruntled message, claiming that we had left the heating off, and possibly a window open, leading to damages due to frozen pipes. Between their conspicuous silence regarding our messages during our stay and the fact that a) there was no way to prove that we had or had not done anything wrong and b) the length of time between our check out and his report, Airbnb sided against the host and we were off the hook. But, I was left with a bad feeling. Not because we potentially had been responsible for damages (we weren’t), but knowing that this situation could have been avoided with smart home devices and appropriate software to manage the property.
Upon my return to the Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL) at University of Toronto (UofT), I decided to tackle a prototype solution to this problem with a smart lock and a simple door. Over the duration of this class, I realized that the problem was much bigger than making a home smarter and managing remote access. There also needs to be a way to automate some of the more tedious tasks of being a short term rental host, with software, smart home tech, and AI communications. A renter will inevitably have questions about the wifi and local attractions, and a host won’t have all the time in the world to answer every question, or even the same question every weekend. And I felt like I was on the verge of an answer.
After graduating from UofT and moving on to the University of Cambridge to pursue a part time Master’s in Entrepreneurship, I started to work on a real-world solution and started to build the foundations of the company. Bringing on Peter as a co-founder and CTO, we were able to build our first functional iteration of the software, and start to change how homes operate.
For us, a home should work for you and not the other way around. There is no shortage of available smart technology that can offer remote access, automate thermostats, monitor noise levels, and answer the most common questions. The short term rental industry is the perfect place to start.
Now, Enso Connect is a home management software that leverages smart home devices and AI communication to provide peace of mind to homeowners and property managers, while offering a seamless experience to a guest in the short term rental industry. Hosts can remotely open their front doors, rather than rely on systems that can jam or freeze, and virtually monitor, maintain and monetize their property from an all-in-one dashboard. Our AI chatbot can handle all the most common questions, and if there’s something it doesn’t know, only then, will it let the host know that there’s an outstanding request. We’ve made the day-to-day running of a short term, the least stressful part of your day.
And the name? An Enso is a Japanese symbol that represents enlightenment and calm. That’s what we offer to homeowners, property managers and guests. A sense of calm.
Welcome to our home,