Hometime scores $1.5m in funds to consolidate its position in the short-term rental market


Hometime founders Dave Thompson and Will Crock

Sydney-based startup Hometime, which manages short-term property rentals, including Airbnb listings, has closed a $1.5 million seed funding round led by tech accelerator Asia Principal Capital (APCL).

Founders Dave Thompson and Will Crock added APCL director Martin Dalgleish (the former chief executive of PBL Media) to their board as part of the deal struck with APCL.

According to Thompson, since launching in June, last year, Hometime has serviced over 500 properties and welcomed more than 15,000 across Sydney and Melbourne, growing its monthly use base ‘by double digits’. He spoke to Dynamic Business about his plans for scaling Hometime and outlasting competitors.

DB: How will the seed funding be used to scale?

Thompson: The capital will be invested in driving further growth in Sydney and Melbourne, where we currently operate, and opening up new markets – our processes are now well defined, so there’s an opportunity to plug and play into new cities with minor on-the-ground resources. We will also invest in enhancing our already sophisticated technology stack to include an owner dashboard, which will provide more transparency for hosts to review their earnings, occupancy and guest reviews.

DB: How was the Investment with APCL struck?  

Thompson: Will and I were fortunate enough to be introduced to APCL. The process moved swiftly – it was only a month later that we had a term sheet/agreement drawn up.

DB: What assistance is Dalgleish providing?

Thompson: Martin and the team at APCL are well-versed when it comes to tech startups and they bring a wealth of expertise to the business, including marketing know-how, PLUS they’re very hands-on. We meet with them weekly which enables us to tap into their network and knowledge of the industry. This active involvement has already helped drive a substantial uplift in growth. Our marketing was previously quite ad-hoc but now we have a sophisticated marketing strategy that enables us to reach a very targeted audience and measure our efforts.

DB: What’s your approach to competitors?

Thompson: Airbnb has birthed an entire ecosystem of startups, all of which are dedicated to serving the platform’s users in different ways. More companies will emerge; however, the industry will likely consolidate into a handful of well-capitalised players. To ensure we are one of these players, we’re leveraging APCL’s network which includes industry and influential people. This will enable us to raise additional funding going forward to continue to position us as a key player in the space.

We’re also able to offer a superior customer service, even at scale, due to the proprietary technology we have created:

  • Housekeepers and vendors have an app that provide them a notification, similar to Uber, allowing them to schedule availability.
  • Our technology uses an algorithm to match housekeepers with jobs in the vicinity and to facilitate effective management and on-time deliverables.
  • A live dashboard allows the operations team to easily keep track of the status of each job in real-time so they can see if someone’s stuck in traffic en route, when a housekeeper has arrived at an Airbnb and when each job is completed.

See also: Shareconomy startup MadeComfy secures $1.1m for its short-term rental management service