47: Matt Lerner | CEO of Metrobutler

Johnathan Gryzbowski

September 1, 2016

MetroButler is a property manager and short term rental concierge for people that are looking to rent their properties on services like Air BNB’s, Craigslist, and many more. MetroButler will help facilitate ALL of the logistics.

The entrepreneur by “chance”, Matt Lerner, is currently on his third successful venture and that is definitely not be accident. The serial entrepreneur’s story started in college, where he created the first online ordering guide for students throughout the University of Michigan.

In 2009, before GrubHub, Cavier, and other online food ordering services became big, Matt sold his stake in the company. A few years later, he started his second business which was digital ad buying service. With that venture, Matt was able to gain Series B funding. Now, Matt is on his third business and is ready to revolutionize the local home renting business with MetroButler.

“I never set out and said I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Like a lot of careers, you figured out what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. I love the creative iteration process and love being in the project manager position. When I worked in the agency world, in between businesses, I found out my strengths and decided to capitalize on those specific traits.”

Although Matt believes that he is an entrepreneur by chance, after learning more about Matt, he is more of an entrepreneur than he may know it. Earlier on in Matt’s career, he was always the one that ran the march madness pools, was always the one that had that side hustle, but it took him all of these specific experiences to see the writing on the walls.

MetroButler’s whole idea is that with AirBNB being the worlds largest hotel, MetroButler wants to be the front desk, the concierge, and the maid service all ruled into one. The company helps the people who wan to lease their space on AirBNB, but don’t have the know how as to what their doing, MetroButler prices the apartment correctly, checks in with their guest, books request, and everything else that a full service hotel would do for you, but just online.

The outgoing entrepreneur loves his time of leisure. Not only does it allow him to reset his mind, but also allows him to expand on his creative genius. The idea for MetroButler started with talking to a few of his friends while out. Matt has a number of fiends that travel a lot for work, many of which have a home that they are either paying a ridiculous amount for rent or mortgage. (Remember, it’s NYC!)

So, Matt’s friends were explaining about how they couldn’t believe that they were only in the apartment anywhere from 8-12 days out of the month. Matt asked his friends: “Why aren’y you using AriBNB? Their response was always the same: “I don’t have the time to list it and what if something happens while I am gone if I am half way around the country.” Matt gathered that on average, people were flushing 2-3k a month down the toilet, but to find a way to get that money back, is profitable.

Currently only operating out of NY, MetroButler is focused on their current customers within their region, but do have plans to expand in the future.

What is most intriguing about Matt’s story isn’t his entrepreneur by chance mentality, but more so the execution behind Matt’s idea. Early on in MetroButler’s life cycle, they were able to raise half a million in funding. Where most people are trying to gain funding for growth capital, Matt decided to get investment for a particular product that would allow his business to scale.

When we first asked for a round of funding; “Our investors are intelligent and asked a ton of questions. They wanted to look at the margins and asked us to address every item that was on our slide deck. While it made it difficult to raise the money, the late night conversations were needed and allowed us close the round early on.

“We were generating revenue, and found that this piece of tech would be able to handle the day to day operations of the company. By investing in the technology, we were able to save money, hire the right people that worked along side the tech. The tech helped a bit, yes. But what really helped was having revenue early on.

If Matt could give any additional feedback or advice for people looking for funding, Matt adds: “You need to have a good story. It’s certainly easier if you have a good story, good people, and if the profit margins line up. People like to buy into people. If you can just guide them along the way and give them a guideline as to how they should invest, you’ll eventually get the funding you need. Be prepared to go into these meetings to show people what you’ve done to date. Give a clear breakdown as to where their money will be going.

Get Your Administrative Stuff Figured Out

Working at a coworking space has helped us significantly. They help with all of the admin stuff, such as; wifi. printing, packaging, and more… As the CEO, I don’t want to waste time and our employees time doing these simple tasks.”

Trust Your Gut

“It’s easy to go to Barnes and Noble and read books to learn about business, but at the end of the day you have to believe in what you’re doing. You can go out and read books by Tim Ferris, but you may be miserable with the outcome. There is no single way to grow a business, every startup has grown in a different way. Some of them have been successful and some of them haven’t, just go out, do your own thing, and trust your gut.”

Once You Commit, You Have To Go Quickly

“You learn a lot from launching something too early, but you can die by not waiting. I would never say launch something out thats not good, but there is nothing wrong with putting something out as a beta and fixing it over time. Use the feedback instead of trying to be a perfectionists.