Chroma Technologies takes the stress out of paying rent on time

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It’s estimated that about 50% of Canadians live paycheck to paycheque, and that number is expected to rise as the cost of living continues to soar.

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Calgary-based Chroma Technologies has created a financial platform to meet the affordability and convenience needs of tenants across the country.

Chroma was co-founded by CEO Myles Shedden, an alumnus of the successful SkipTheDishes.

While studying for his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan — he later earned his Masters of Science there — he met Josh Simair, co-founder of SkipTheDishes. After working in Calgary at RBC Capital Markets and TriVest Capital Partners, Shedden was approached by Simair with an invitation to join his firm in Winnipeg.

He says he found the online food delivery business absolutely electric and moved to Manitoba as vice president of global fulfillment solutions.

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Returning to Calgary in 2019 after acquiring the company, Shedden joined Riley Pickerl and Yacine Bara to found Chroma, which launched as property management software for landlords to help collect rents.

It quickly became a platform to help tenants who were struggling to pay regular first-of-the-month payments to landlords.

Shedden says the vast majority of rent is due on the first of the month, when landlords have to pay their mortgages. Many tenants spend 50% of their income on rent and if salaries are paid at different times of the month – while student loan payments and other sources of income operate on different schedules – the due date can sometimes be difficult to respect. And that can mean landlord charges for late payment and bank charges for insufficient funds, making it harder to catch up the next month.

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Chroma pays rent on behalf of tenants on the first of the month, and tenants choose when and how they repay Chroma throughout the month on a personal, individually arranged schedule. This means rent is automatically always paid on time, giving them stress-free peace of mind and allowing them to take control of their most important expenses. The system can also contribute to a tenant’s credit rating, as payment histories can be reported to credit agencies.

The regular display of on-time payments can also be used as a good reference when moving to a new location.

Establishing a good credit score is an important step in being able to buy a home. “Much of the wealth in Canada is generated through home ownership, and with home prices where they are today, it is extremely difficult for renters to make meaningful financial progress without significant growth in income. That’s the gap we’re here to fill,” says Shedden.

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The need is already evidenced by the thousands of people across the country who request to use Chroma every month. Its software engineers are housed at the head office in Calgary, but representatives are located in the Prairies.

It’s a win-win for tenants and landlords. “As the cost of housing continues to rise, we need more innovative solutions for tenants,” says Shedden. “The Canadian dream of homeownership seems increasingly distant to many — our mission is to ensure that renters are not left behind.

Next up is the launch of ChromaDeposit, an offering to pay off large upfront security deposits at the start of a lease, repaying Chroma with smaller, convenient monthly installments.

Remarks:

For 70 years, painter/author Bill Brownridge has captured the spirit of hockey. He is being recognized for his artistry as an inductee into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2022. While living here he designed the Calgary Flames uniforms and was the Official Bid Artist 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Brownridge will be present at his new exhibition at Gibson Fine Art on May 14.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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Julio V. Miller