Airtasker co-founder's latest venture is a 'LinkedIn for property'

Airtasker co-founder's latest venture is a 'LinkedIn for property'
Airtasker co-founder's latest venture is a 'LinkedIn for property'

Airtasker co-founder Jonathan Lui,  who stepped back from the the peer-to-peer job outsourcing marketplace due to personal reasons, is launching a startup he says is the "LinkedIn for property”.

Lui’s latest venture, Soho, is a portal that allows property owners to manage their asset profile online from rental payments to body corporate statements.

Its uniqueness, according to Lui, lies in members’ ability to connect with other property owners, much like a "digital doorknock".

"Today, if you want to buy an apartment in an apartment block you'd have to wait for it to eventually come to market at some point. Or you have to go and knock on the door and get in touch with the owner," Lui told The Australian Financial Review.

"We're breaking down those boundaries and letting those conversations happen."

Lui was forced to step back from Airtasker in October 2016 when his father in-law took ill and the family needed to move to Singapore. Lui had to sell his property in Sydney, sparking the idea for his next company.

He still has a significant shareholding in Airtasker, remains on the board and travels back to Sydney frequently.

Soho will be headquartered in his new home of Singapore, but it will launch globally this week and Australia and Singapore will be its first markets.

The company raised $1 million in May, mainly from high net-worth investors who have also backed Airtasker, according to the AFR.

"With entrepreneurship, when you experience a problem it just kind of eats away at you. Especially the ones you experience personally," Lui said.

"When we were relocating last year ... I listed my property online and had 30 people through the door and four offers within a few days. It made me realise there were lots of buyers who knew what they wanted and what they wanted to spend, but they couldn't buy what they couldn't see and it got me thinking there had to be another way."

Airtasker co-founder's latest venture is a 'LinkedIn for property'

Soho has properties signed up within metro regions and owners will have the option to manage the property privately as well, so that it's not visible to the public.

Lui isn't focused on generating immediate revenue, but in the longer term the platform will have premium features and subscription options and it will also facilitate rental payments.

"CoreLogic data shows a property sells once every 10.5 years on average. We want to have that 10.5 year relationship because it's the most important investment you make," he said.

"Our short-term goal is to get as many properties onto the network as possible. Contrary to many other property tech start-ups coming out of the woodwork, we will work closely with industry. Our aim isn't to cut out agents."

Since starting Airtasker in 2012, the peer-to-peer job outsourcing marketplace has raised $32 million, including $22 million in a round led by Seven West Media in June 2016.

It also has more than 1.3 million users and has been rumoured to be in the process of raising an additional $20 million.

Tags: 
Property market Online

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