Motivated by its founders' desire to improve communication and experiences for renters and property owners, a Sydney-based company with an unusually punctuated name has entered a partnership with Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) after a capital raise that will take its business model nationwide.
Founded in 2017 by ex-Silicon Valley executives Mina Radhakrishnan and Ruwin Perera, :Different is all smiles after growing quickly and doubling its team in the last year alone through its mission to reimagine the property management experience through people and technology.
"We started :Different because we had heard all too many horror stories of property owners and renters having a subpar experience with their property managers," says Radhakrishnan.
"Little communication and transparency into the important things that can make a real difference to the overall living and ownership experience.
"We knew things had to change, and with people who care, and powerful technology, we could create a better experience for our property owners, their properties and the people who live in them."
Yesterday the company announced the completion of a $25 million Series B round led by Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) venture-scaling entity x15ventures as well as Antler.
The funds will be used to build :Different's team of property managers and its technology platform, while the support of CBA will open it up to a potential customer base of 15 million people by making its platform available across various CBA channels including the CommBank app to support property investors with guidance throughout the entire home buying journey.
The partnership is one of several established this year by Australia's largest bank to enhance its app across numerous verticals, including energy retail, online store development, online retail aggregation and buy-now pay-later services.
"This investment and strategic partnership continues our commitment to bring differentiated products and services to CommBank’s customers. Our ventures are now improving the digital customer experience throughout the home buying journey," says x15ventures managing director Toby Norton-Smith.
"Working closely with exceptional founders like Mina and Ruwin and global industry heavyweights like Antler, is a privilege," Norton-Smith says.
"This exposure and immersion with the broader startup community is key to x15ventures’ strategy to build, buy and invest in digital businesses that will reshape banking as we know it."
Radhakrishnan says the ultimate mission is to be the all-encompassing assistant to the home, and this latest raise and the company's partnership with CBA brings it one step closer to achieving that goal.
"Partnering with CBA presents a momentous opportunity for not only :Different as a company but for Aussies right around the country," adds Perera.
"The new alliance will see us tap into CBA’s 15 million strong customer base to offer them a better approach to home ownership," he says.
"Finance and homes are inextricably linked. We are a trusted partner in the home, and with CBA at our side, we will deliver value through reimagined products and services as the basis of a home platform, designed to service the needs of homes and the people who live in them."
Antler partner Teddy Himler highlights a world-class team at :Different which is building a customer-centric platform for the home in "one of the most exciting emerging tech ecosystems globally and beyond".
"We are proud to support :Different as they continue their momentum as Australia’s fastest-growing property manager," Himler says.
Perera says the team at :Different is thrilled to have CBA and Antler backing them.
"Both partners have a vision to disrupt the status quo to solve real world problems in unique ways, which is at the very core of why we started :Different, and makes them a perfect pairing for us," he says.
"We’re looking forward to what this new chapter brings for us and our team, as well as the millions of Australians who own or rent homes."
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