Self-service property management platform RentBetter has secured $1.9 million in funding, as more Aussies look to take control of their investments.
Founded about five years ago, RentBetter is designed to give private landlords access to the same tools and services available to real estate professionals.
It allows them to manage everything from ads, inquiries and lease agreements to condition reports, payments and receipts in one place, without having to shell out for a property manager.
And it seems there is demand for such things. The startup is now seeing its subscriber base increase by about 250%, year-on-year.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
Speaking to SmartCompany, founder and chief executive Jeremy Goldschmidt says there is an increasing push for alternative ways to manage traditional processes.
But people are also “watching their side pocket”, and looking for ways technology can help them save money.
People with investment properties want to be getting the best out of their assets, without necessarily increasing the admin burden.
The tool also adds a “control factor”, Goldschmidt says, offering landlords more transparency around their properties and giving them the opportunity to play a more active role in their management.
Australia’s sophisticated property market
The investors in this round have not been disclosed, but Goldschmidt does share that they include some high-net worth individuals and industry partners.
This funding will be used to build out the team and for investment in product development. It will also fuel a marketing campaign designed to boost the startup’s exposure.
There are about 2 million landlords in Australia and some 3 million rental properties, he explains. About 20% of the adult population participate in the property market in one way or another.
Australia’s leasing and management market is a sophisticated one Goldschmidt notes, estimated to be worth about $6 billion. There are no significant tech platforms offering self-management in the sector.
Goldschmidt is aiming to reach a market share of about 5%, he explains.
“We want to use this funding to get in front of those people,” he says.
Disruption in property management
The property management industry is a traditional one that’s often reliant on legacy tech and face-to-face interactions.
According to Goldschmidt, it’s an industry that was overdue for some disruption.
The current model generally sees one individual overseeing multiple properties, he notes. Operations are process-driven and involve intermediaries relaying messages via phone calls and emails. It’s a model full of friction, he says.
“There’s just a very large amount of things that they need to cover every day.
“And when you look at it, nobody cares about your asset or your investment more than you — the investor or the landlord.”
We’re seeing a trend of non-experts taking more control over their investments through things like self-managed super funds and investment tools like Stake and Superhero, Goldschmidt adds.
They’re looking to save money, but they’re also looking for better outcomes. And it stands to reason that property investors are now looking for those same wins.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm towards new tech and doing things differently in the property market,” Goldschmidt says.
“It’s a really exciting time.”