Sydney startup Hometime, a property management service for the likes of Airbnb and other players in the short-term rental space, has raised $1.5 million in a seed round led by Asia Principal Capital (APC).
The funding will go towards growing the service in its existing markets of Sydney and Melbourne, and expansion into new cities. The startup will also look to further develop its platform to introduce new features for home owners or hosts.
Launched in 2016 by founders Dave Thompson and Will Crock, Hometime looks to help hosts “put their Airbnb properties on autopilot”, as Thompson explained, by handling each aspect of the hosting experience.
The service works via a host platform and a vendor portal for contractors who perform the various services offered by the startup, which are split across simple housekeeping or full management of a listing.
The full management service starts with chatting with the host to understand what kinds of guests they want to accept – no pets allowed, for example – and how much they want to be earning, and then creating a listing.
Here, a photographer can come and take photos of the property, with Hometime then listing the property across various booking platforms, its ‘unique pricing data’ working to optimise the listed price at different times. From there, the housekeeping and maintenance comes in. Clients can choose to either have housekeepers change the sheets and towels, putting the dirty ones in the laundry basket, or using Hometime’s linens.
“Will and I started this business as we saw the tremendous growth Airbnb was experiencing in Australia, with Sydney being its fifth largest market globally,” Thompson said.
“As a host myself, I could see the pain point of handling guest enquiries, bookings, inventory management across multiple platforms, arranging property access, and cleaning and linen changes. We saw the opportunity to build a platform that can scale to many thousands of properties across Australia and the region.”
APC’s Martin Dalgleish, who joining the startup’s board, said the firm is aware of the rise of new platforms both in Australia and globally but was impressed by Hometime.
“Hometime impressed because of its level of technology driven platform approach, and the calibre of the founders to execute on their plans. We see Hometime becoming a dominant player across the entire Australian market in the very short-term,” he said.
Thompson added, “There have been new entrants in the space, however the key to success is the ability to scale without compromising service delivery. We have built sophisticated back-end technology that allows us to deliver a high-quality personalised hosting experience at scale.”
Among the competitors in the space is fellow Sydney startup MadeComfy, which last month raised $1.1 million in funding from investors including Cliff Rosenberg, former managing director of LinkedIn in Australia and New Zealand, managing director of Investec Australia Hein Vogel, and Amaysim cofounders Rolf Hansen and Peter O’Connell.
Image: Dave Thompson and William Crock. Source: Supplied.