MadeComfy currently manages over 300 properties across Sydney and has seen its revenue increase by more than 500% over the last 12 months. According to Quirin Schwaighofer (COO), who co-founded MadeComfy with Sabrina Bethunin (CEO) in 2015, three positions – Chief Sales Officer (CSO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – were created and filled to enable the startup to meet its objective of managing 1000 properties across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by the end of 2017.
Schwaighofer spoke to Dynamic Business about onboarding Tom Jowitt, former Head of Engineering at Expert360 as CTO; Nina Jung, ex-Delivery Hero International Marketing Director as CMO; and Mike Johnson, who served as Rackspace Sales and Marketing Director (APAC) as CSO.
DB: Can you give a sense of the recruitment process and criteria?
Schwaighofer: We wanted to find passionate and experienced leaders who are experts in their field, who are capable of building new company infrastructure and who strongly believe in MadeComfy’s values – Agility, Empowerment, Trust and Wow. Nina, Tom and Mike are all well regarded in their respective industries and have built and led successful and high performing teams in their past roles.
We screened a lot of candidates and were happy to have had incredible talent applying for the advertised roles. We also had great support from our recruitment partner TalentPool which has previously supported fast-growing startups like ZipMoney with headhunting talent. We were especially looking for people with experience working in startups as operating in a startup is a completely different situation to running an established department in a large company. We also looked for a track record of building teams, overcoming a range of challenges, and for professionals with strong passion, empathy and who would fit naturally with our values. And, of course, being fun to work with is key for the MadeComfy team.
DB: What growth will your CTO, CMO and CSO help you unlock?
Schwaighofer: Tom started at MadeComfy earlier this year and has already had his first major success with our new Home Owner platform, where our customers have full access to the past, current and future performance of their properties. This is important as financial data and transparency are so important to property investors. Tom and his team are now working on further advancing our business intelligence platform which enables us to continuously generate the highest net returns and occupancy rates. They team is also working on upgrading our operations platform to continuously increase our operational efficiency.
Nina is focusing on tailored marketing campaigns to ensure our brand and value-adding services are recognised by property investors as well as the easy-to-use MadeComfy Short Term Rental Management solution.
Mike is building our Sales and Host Experience team here in Sydney and Melbourne to ensure we are always accessible our current and future MadeComfy property owners.
DB: Did the $1.1m raise fund the hires or were they already locked in?
Schwaighofer: It is a combination. We are already operating well in terms of revenue side which helps us to grow the business organically. Our other intention from the capital raise was to get highly successful entrepreneurs and business leaders to join and support MadeComfy in our growth. It has enabled us to welcome to MadeComfy’s advisory board Cliff Rosenberg (former Managing Director of LinkedIn), Rolf Hansen (cofounder and former CEO of Amaysim) Peter O’Connell (cofounder and former Chairman of Amaysim), Hein Vogel (Managing Director of Investec Australia) and Manfred Hasseler (early investor and advisor at Airtasker).
DB: How are you approaching competitors in the short-term rental space?
Schwaighofer: We think it’s great to have competition as it proves we’re operating in a hot market and it’s also a sign that more and more property owners are considering buying an investment property or sharing their home. We consider our main competitors to be the traditional real estate agents for property rentals and hotels for guests, as both are currently servicing the established markets we are disrupting. Looking at the other Airbnb management businesses, the essential difference is that MadeComfy offers a performance-based, end-to-end management service with the aim to maximise net returns for property owners and to provide a quality guest experience at the same time. It’s really a winning solution for both property investors and guests. We’re confident that MadeComfy’s culture and diverse, highly experienced team will continue to innovate and ultimately drive the professional short-term rental market in Australia.