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How Sydney startup MadeComfy secured $1.1 million with backing of Amaysim co-founders and ex-LinkedIn chief

Angela Castles /

MadeComfy

MadeComfy co-founders Quirin Schwaighofer and Sabrina Bethunin

Sydney-based property management startup MadeComfy has raised $1.1 million from high-profile investors including Amaysim co-founders Rolf Hansen and Peter O’Connell and former LinkedIn Australia managing director Cliff Rosenberg.

Airtasker investor Manfred Hasseler and Maquarie banker and Investec Australia managing ­director Hein Vogel also join the list of backers.

Launched in 2015, MadeComfy has capitalised on the Airbnb boom by managing properties on short-term leases, including organising guest bookings and providing maintenance for clients’ short-term property listings.

The business is capitalising on consumers’ growing interest in short-term rentals, with the Sydney market experiencing a 106% year-on-year growth and is growing into the fifth-largest market for short term rentals.

Co-founders ­Sabrina Bethunin and Quirin Schwaighofer say the service currently manages 300 properties and sees 1,000 guests through their doors per month.

Landing high-profile investors: perseverance is key

This is the first investment from Amaysim co-founders Hansen and O’Connell since they left their mobile business, which the pair had grown to become the 4th largest telecommunications provider in Australia.

It’s also Cliff Rosenberg’s first public announcement about a startup he’s becoming involved in since announcing in May he was moving on from his position as managing director of LinkedIn’s ANZ operations.

Bethunin says these investors provide crucial advice and expertise which will help MadeComfy grow.

“It’s important to have a diverse team with different experience and different backgrounds,” she says.

Schwaighofer says these investors “offer phenomenal access to a wealth of talent and experience,” yet notes that it took over eight months of pitching and 40 rejections from investors before they managed to secure the LinkedIn and Amaysim alumni.

“We hit a sweet spot with Cliff – he saw in us something that others didn’t see,”  Schwaighofer tells StartupSmart.

His advice to startups looking to land quality advisors and investors can be distilled to one key word: Perseverance.

“If you’re not passionate it’s very easy to give up: In the beginning you need to convince everyone to join you,” he says. 

“Continue to pitch and share your vision – don’t ask for money, ask for feedback and opinions.”

Raising funds: Execution is everything

This is MadeComfy’s third raise, and brings the company’s valuation to $5.5 million. Schwaighofer notes that they key to a successful raise is “taking the time to really understand your business” and being able to show traction and solid performance metrics.

He also says talking about your idea with as many people as you can is crucial for validating your product.

“When I see a lot of entrepreneurs they are afraid someone is going to steal their idea,” he says.

“Having an idea is 1%, the execution is 99%. The idea is not what makes the difference -it’s you.”

“The best money you get is from customers”

While this is MadeComfy’s third raise, Schwaighofer notes that investment “should not be seen as a bank” but should rather be perceived as “inviting people in to the business who are able to help you”. 

“A lot of people think the aim of a startup is to raise money – it’s not, it’s to provide value to someone,” he says.

“When you raise money you give away parts of your business – the best money you can get is from customers.”

MadeComfy plans to use these funds to expand their business across Australia, with the startup set to launch in Brisbane in the next two months, and in Melbourne “early” next year.

Their goals are ambitious: To grow from 300 properties under management to 3000 by 2020.

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Angela Castles

Angela Castles is a former StartupSmart journalist.

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