Like many good success stories, Property Meld was the brainchild of two colleagues who saw a problem – in this case, coordinating maintenance work in rental communities – and came up with a solution. Cofounder Ray Hespen credits much of his company’s success to Ascent Innovation, a branch of the Rapid City Economic Development Foundation. Ascent provides an incubator, a building with office spaces for startup companies such as Property Meld to gain a foothold as they attempt to establish a brand.
“Things like this are critical for companies like us,” said Hespen. He believes businesses just starting out require more than great ideas -– they need a place to exercise them. “If you don’t have a space like this, you present a barrier to them.”
Hespen and partnering Cofounder David Kingman, came up with the idea for Property Meld in 2013 while renting properties in cities thousands of miles apart and experiencing similar maintenance headaches. They started working on an automated system to help property managers streamline the process in 2014 and joined the incubator in 2017.
“It was a phenomenal amount of space for a low cost, with flexibility to grow and not worry about being constrained by our own office space,” Hespen recalls. “When you are a young business you have to choose where your money is going to go...a space as large as this for as low cost it is allows us to use our resources to do something better.”
Something better meant adding staff as needed as the company began to grow. Today, there are numerous property management firms utilizing Property Meld’s software across the nation and in Canada.
The entrepreneurial resources aggregated and created by Ascent Innovation has served as a conduit to help many new and existing businesses in Rapid City bring their ideas to life. Property Meld’s success exemplifies this as they continue to grow their headquarters in this community.