Startup News & Analysis

How two co-founders of property management startup Pleased.Property went from launch to exit within two years

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Gerard Holland (second from left) with the Pleased.Property team. Source: Supplied.

Gerard Holland (second from left) with the Pleased.Property team. Source: Supplied.

Melbourne-based rental management startup Pleased.Property has been acquired for $2 million by ASX-listed real estate platform buyMyplace.com.au, almost exactly two years after it was founded.

The $2 million acquisition figure is comprised of $1.4 million in buyMyplace shares, plus $600,000 in cash.

Launched in 2016 by co-founders Gerard Holland, Domenic Saporito and Jeremy Goff, Pleased.Property provides a platform directly connecting landlords and tenants.

The app allows users to communicate, make transactions and even conduct property inspections via video link, without the need for third-party management companies.

Speaking to StartupSmart, Holland says the founders launched the company “because we hated our real estate agents”.

As both a landlord and a tenant himself, Holland wanted to improve the relationships between the two.

“As a landlord, if I know my tenant and if they know me, they will be more incentivised to look after the property,” he says.

“Having this person in the middle can make that experience worse for both parties,” he adds.

The startup was sold as a pre-revenue business, with buyMyplace focusing on the acquisition of the technology, Holland says.

While he doesn’t share exact figures, he says the numbers of users were in the hundreds at the time of the acquisition.

Pleased.Property will be integrated into the rental property section of buyMyplace, in a bid to help the company grow this aspect of the business.

“I never expected it to go like this”

Pleased.Property has previously raised $100,000 in seed funding from two angel investors, and “we’ve exceeded their expectations”, Holland says. However, an acquisition wasn’t always the end goal.

When buyMyplace first approached the startup, the founders were actually in the process of a capital raise that would have secured between $500,000 and $1 million in funding.

“We had secured funds, we had investors ready to go,” he says.

“[BuyMyplace] asked us to put our capital raise on hold”.

After some discussion with buyMyplace, “we were bought into their vision — we wanted to be a part of it”, he says.

Now, while co-founder Goff will remain working full-time with Pleased.Property, along with the startup’s two staff members, the other co-founders, Holland and Saporito, are taking a step back to focus on the two additional businesses they run together.

In fact, Holland says when the founders launched Pleased.Property, he initially saw it as “a side hustle”.

“I never expected it to go like this,” he says.

That said, Holland will still be watching buyMyplace closely — and with anticipation. The terms of the acquisition prevent the founders from selling their shares within the next two years, but Holland says the addition of Pleased.Property will have “a massive impact” on the ASX-listed company.

“I’m more than happy to step away and watch on,” he says, “I’m looking forward to watching it evolve.”

“If buyMyplace can pull off the strategy, the biggest payday will be the shares,” he adds.

“It’s going to be all-consuming”

Whether they’re looking to exit or not, Holland’s advice for startup founders is “you have to persist”.

“You have to be prepared to work hard and you have to make sacrifices. It’s going to be all-consuming,” he says.

Although his Pleased.Property journey was something of a whirlwind by normal startup standards, Holland says as an entrepreneur, his biggest learning curve has been figuring out how to be patient.

While he understood working on a startup was going to be hard work, “the one thing I underestimated was patience,” he says.

“Things have to happen over time,” he adds.

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is a reporter at StartupSmart.

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