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Sydney-based start-up Hometime has raised $6.7 million in funding for its new PM platform. Designed to integrate with Airbnb, it is being used to make managing short-term rentals (STR) much easier for owners and property managers. 

The capital was raised in May this year, with major contributors NAB Ventures and AS1 Growth Partners both identifying and actively pursuing the scalable Hometime business model – made even more tantalising by the fact it is in an extremely high-growth sector.

Alongside the funding, Hometime has announced the acquisition of two Australian based property management companies, Host My Home and bnbpal, with William Crook, COO and co-founder stating there will be more investments like these over the next 12 months.

Achieving a staggering 300% growth in revenue over the 12 month period leading up to October, 2019, Crook believes Hometime is on track to hit between $13 million and $14 million in revenue this year with plenty of scope to grow in the coming years given the size and health of the international market. Crook continues:

“The global short stay property rental market will approach US$115 billion in 2019 compared to approximately US$40 billion in 2010, representing an annual growth of 13%. As the largest and fastest growing operator in Australia, we plan to capitalise on these tailwinds and drive further growth over the coming years as the market matures and consolidates.”

Less a software-as-a-service provider and more a property services start-up, the focus of Hometime is in providing the highest possible quality guest experience 

A lot of time and investment has been injected into the continuity of the experience across all eight cities in Australia and Auckland, New Zealand that Hometime operates in. According to Mr Crook:

“There’s a big challenge in ensuring consistency, alignment, making sure all your people are motivated, incentivised, and have the right tools to deliver on the company goal. That’s where we’ve spent a lot of time and investment … how can we optimise this business model?”

The most effective solution they came to is to focus on empowering – and incentivising – the people servicing the STR properties, from those changing the sheets and cleaning through to gardening services and everything in between.

“That person is absolutely incentivised, aligned, has the right tools, the right training to deliver this service, and all of a sudden, that becomes scalable.”

This is what has driven Hometime’s explosive growth, and is indicative of current global investor interest. However, Crook does believe the move towards consolidation is well and truly on the cards.

“It’s almost inevitable — because it’s a very young, fragmented industry, some smaller players start to join together to remain competitive, then larger players start to acquire as a way to increase market share, but also to enter new markets.”

He goes on to say that while Australia is “a fantastic market” as there are an increasing amount of Airbnb properties, “there is a lack of well-capitalised players here” providing Hometime with the opportunity to leverage that to their advantage by acquiring more local businesses.

Mr Crock has big plans for the future of Hometime, hoping to move to the UK or US market in 2020.  

“It’s such a young industry, there’s been no tech or scale applied to it yet. So, there’s definitely room for a massive Australian player. There’s no reason we can’t grow this business to that kind of proportion. There’s a huge market, we’re really excited about the growth prospects,” he says.

With their investments, capital injection and incredible growth, Hometime has established itself as one of the PropTech companies to watch in 2020.

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