Rethinking property management: our investment in :Different

Different founders Ruwin Perera and Mina Radhakrishnan Picture: Supplied

Large stagnant industries where NPS is low and margins are unsustainably high

We love to back product driven founders who are able to harness the power of software (real AI) and data science (real insights), combined with customer service (real humans) to reimagine boring industries. The property management sector is a perfect application. It’s a $5bn sector in Australia alone with unsustainable margins and terrible NPS from both landlords and tenants.

We bucket this investment thematic as ‘large stagnant industries where NPS is low and margins are unsustainably high.’

World class, product driven founders

We first met Mina and Ruwin when they moved to Australia. They both come with enviable product and tech pedigree: Mina was global Head of Product at Uber and brings product experience from Modcloth and Google while Ruwin has held exec roles at Google and Softbank. This duo would be able to raise capital and build a great business anywhere in the world but they chose to do so in Australia. This is a reminder to those lamenting the brain drain to greener pastures that we often benefit from our best and brightest returning to Australia and bringing with them many years of world class experience. It is also part of a general trend for founders to build deep engineering and product capability outside the intense, high cost, zero loyalty environment of Silicon Valley (more on that in another post).

We are fascinated by great product and spend a lot of time talking to founders about their product vision and roadmap.

Mina and Ruwin capture this well

“The most powerful products are the ones that feel simple from the outside. On the outside, Uber is just a button you press, and all the complexity is hidden to provide a service that just works. At :Different, we’ve redefined property management to create a better consumer experience for owners, tenants and tradespeople”

The very best applications combine intuitive product vision and continual data feedback loops all underpinned by AI. That is why we are so excited to have Anil Sabharwal as an Airtree Venture Partner to help our founders think about product, culture and building teams.

Saas-esque business model

The property management space is not one you would naturally be drawn to. But look under the hood and you will find property management is a long term, relationship business model with metrics that would make most SaaS founders blush. Other examples of SaaS-esque economics in our portfolio are Pet Food (PetCircle) and Superannuation (Spaceship). Mina and Ruwin have spent a lot of time thinking through their application and software to re-engineer the workflow to allow landlords to access high quality full-service property management for $100/month, a fraction of the current management fees for most properties.

Different investment

We love to write the first cheque into great businesses and back world class founders like Mina and Ruwin. We are excited to lead the seed round and be joined by AngelList’s Parker Thomson and Belle Property luminary Tim Foote.

by Craig Blair