A Sydney-based property management company for the short-term rental market has closed a $1.5 million funding deal led by technology private equity firm Asia Principal Capital (APC).
Launched in 2016, Hometime runs an app connecting housekeepers and vendors — in similar style to Uber — to schedule availability using a sophisticated best-match algorithm.
Founders Dave Thompson and William Crock describe Hometime’s property management and housekeeping platform as allowing hosts to put their Airbnb properties on 'autopilot'.
“We saw the tremendous growth Airbnb was experiencing in Australia, with Sydney being its fifth largest market globally,” Mr Thompson said.
Mr Thompson added that as a host himself, he could see the pain points of handling guest inquiries, bookings and inventory management across multiple platforms, as well as arranging access and cleaning and changing linens.
“We saw the opportunity to build a platform that can scale to many thousands of properties across Australia and the region,” Mr Thompson said.
The capital will be invested in driving growth in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as opening new markets and enhancing the 'already sophisticated' technology stack.
“We set out to automate as much as possible,” Mr Thompson said.
“The measure of our success is ultimately the five-star reviews our owners repeatedly enjoy, and the increased yield they attain through our sophisticated pricing and occupancy optimisation.”
He also said that Hometime has a technological edge over its competitors.
“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.”
As part of the deal, APC’s Martin Dalgleish has been appointed to the board of Hometime.
“We were aware of the many new platforms both globally and in Australia to service the rapidly developing short-term property rental market,” Mr Dalgleish said.
“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.”
As many as 8.5 million tourists visited Australia in the past 12 months, spending nearly $40 billion, according to Mr Thompson.
As at June 2017, Airbnb had 115,000 listings for rooms or entire homes across Australia, with 60 per cent of Sydney's 20,000 Airbnb listings for entire homes, according to data from The University of New South Wales.