Hey Scott, how did Kolmeo come to life?
'A few of us had come from running one of the biggest rental management companies in Australia, looking after around 50,000 property owners and a similar number of tenants, through a team of several hundred property managers. In doing so we learned a lot about how tough property management was, and how difficult the industry was finding it to change because of the way the industry had become structured. I.e. the property manager role had extraordinary levels of turnover, didn’t pay a lot of money and put people under enormous amounts of stress. Unsurprisingly, this often led to poor experiences for the owners and tenants they serve, but the low margins made it difficult for agencies to invest in any meaningful change.'
Watch an intro to Kolmeo below:
'The other thing that was happening at the same time was that the software we’d been working on, ‘Agentplus’, was an excellent product that was 15 years old and due to be rebuilt for the cloud. We spent some time looking at what the world’s best platforms were doing to shift service delivery and improve efficiency in both real estate and adjacent industries, combined this with what we had learned from Agentplus’ 15 years of serving real estate agencies and used that insight to create a plan which we took to Little Group (Agentplus’ owner) called ‘Kolmeo’.
Kolmeo means triangle (Finnish) and the triangle represents our most important belief that we’ll only be successful if we balance the needs of all three sides of the property puzzle– owners, tenants, and property managers. We’d seen countless apps come to market that fix things for one side but in doing so make it worse for the others, ultimately failing as a result. We adopted the name and launched our business in late 2019.
Over the next 12 months we grew our team to 130 people (from 28), built a whole new platform during Melbourne’s seemingly endless lockdowns, and since then have successfully migrated three of the biggest rental managers in Australia with around $1 Billion now flowing through our platform every year. It’s been a big few years!
More of us will only ever rent nowadays but the experience is often quite poor. We felt there was an opportunity to change this by better empowering property managers and giving them the tools and technology they need to deliver incredible experiences for property owners and tenants.
'I was once asked to describe my perfect job and simply said " I want to work with really talented people, solve problems that others have said are too hard, and make a difference in society through that work and the careers we create for those who join us to do it.
Kolmeo has been both the hardest thing I've ever done but also the most rewarding for those reasons. I can't believe how many amazing people I get to work with in our business who care so deeply about the work they're doing to improve things for people. I'm equally fortunate to work with some incredible customers and stakeholders who push us to help them improve things for the triangle we all serve.'
What's next for Kolmeo?
'We're now in the really exciting growth stage as more and more agencies move their business to our platform. We're increasingly turning our attention to the owner and tenant experiences we will help those agencies create as most of our focus has centred on the property manager as we came to market.
We're also looking to move to a new space in the city so our team can hang more easily and get together more often. We support fully remote working, which is awesome for those who prefer it, but we want to give people more reasons to be in person rather than simply telling them they have to.'