Bill Hunter, CTO & Peta Sarlos, Head of People and Culture – Kolmeo
A few words to introduce your company and yourselves?
P: I work for Kolmeo, a property management platform helping forward-thinking agencies, owners, and tenants to love property management, transforming day-to-day tasks, making them more engaging, productive, and fun.
I spent the first 10 years of my career managing hotels and leading teams, which gave me a good insight into people management and business operations. This drove my passion and commitment to partnering with business leaders to achieve their strategic and operational goals. I am passionate about creating a workplace that people love, where they can be creative and innovative, and love our customers while building a really great product.
B: I’m the CTO at Kolmeo, I’ve spent the last 15 years in finance and Fintech and more recently in start-ups. I love building great teams and giving them a big problem to sink their teeth into. Kolmeo’s been the perfect opportunity to do both of those.
What problem are you solving?
P: We’re solving for the multitude of pain points experienced by all the people in property – renters, owners, and property managers, making it possible for them to love their experience with property management.
B: As I said, I really like big problems and to be honest when I started to understand the “current state” I thought I was missing something. My first reaction was “surely someone’s solved this, these problems just don’t exist anymore”. In short, tenants, landlords and property managers are all having a really tough time, whether it be waiting around for an inspection or maintenance, shelling out cash for repairs on the property or trying to manage the needs of 200-300 individual properties that you’re responsible for at any one time. There are so many good opportunities in each of these areas individually, and that’s how some platforms are handling it but no-one is really solving for all three sides. To us that’s the most important part, otherwise, you’re just leaving too much opportunity on the table.
Any words on the Digital / Tech Melbourne (Sydney, Brisbane etc.) ecosystem and community?
B: I love the Melbourne scene and it’s just getting stronger and stronger. When we did our last round of hiring I was blown away by how many genuinely passionate and inspiring people are in our city. The ecosystem is starting to show some good signs of self-sustainability too. Lots of local start-ups now rely on other businesses in the community to operate. That means money is cycling through the ecosystem creating jobs and growth. That’s a really good sign in my opinion.
What’s the biggest challenge for Australian start-ups in your opinion?
B: The R&D Tax Incentive. There’s a lot of businesses that rely on that money and the uncertainty of that looms large each year, I think it causes people to pull back on more risky opportunities which is bad for all of us.
What technology are you most looking forward to becoming mainstream in the next few years?
P: There is a lot, but I think autonomous cars will be pretty cool, also keen to see how these Virtual Hospitals that they are talking about rolling out work during the current COVID-19 crisis.
B: AR and VR are going to be big for us. COVID has been accelerated the behavioural change in Proptech so I’m hoping we can ride that wave and bring some stuff forward in our roadmap that we weren’t planning for quite a while.
Any tips on building successful/cohesive teams?
P: Open and honest communication is key to aid in building trust and rapport between each other and you have to have fun!
B: Hire the right people. If you don’t do that, then life just gets exponentially harder. We spent lots of time on our EVP and hiring principals before hiring so that we could be objective about how we approached the market and how we assessed candidates. And if you don’t feel that you’re able to engage, attract and hire a best in class team, then hire AllSquares because they certainly can
What’s on the record table / Spotify at the moment?
P: Fatboy Slim
B: Floating Points’ Turntable on Spotify for background funk, Noisia Radio on Mixcloud for working out and Jake and Jonathan podcast in the car
B: GNT for sure
Other than your own, what are the three most valuable/most-used apps on your phone?
P: Weather, Instagram, and Google
B: Todoist – I can’t live without it eBay- They’re making so much from me now we’re in lockdown. Bear – a beautifully designed note-taking app for us Markdown fans.