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Sad day as :Different goes into voluntary administration

Australian PropTech company :Different has gone into voluntary administration, with KPMG set to sell the platform’s assets and intellectual property.

In a note to staff, :Different Co-founders Mina Radhakrishnan and Ruwin Perera said despite working hard to secure the additional funding needed to complete building and scaling the platform, they had been unable “to secure enough to continue operating the business as it’s currently being run for any significant period of time”.

They said the capital markets for scale-ups at their stage of growth were incredibly challenging.

“As you know from our recent updates, we’ve paused all growth and integration efforts on the Different for Agencies product and have been working closely with our partners to enable a smooth transition of management over time,” they said.

“The board has today decided to appoint KPMG as the voluntary administrators of :Different.

“KPMG will commence an immediate assessment of the business, and we understand they intend to commence an orderly sale of :Different’s assets and intellectual property.” 

Ms Radhakrishnan and Mr Perera emphasised that :Different’s owners and tenants would still be serviced as normal and leadership was working closely with DPMG.

“They plan to continue supporting the owners and tenants with high quality services,” they said.

“We expect this move will not change the service our owners and tenants will receive. 

“:Different’s team of property partners will continue to be on hand to support our customers, and owners and tenants will continue to have access to the apps. 

“Ruwin and I will be working cooperatively and collaboratively with KPMG in whatever way we will be most helpful through this process.”

Ms Radhakrishnan and Mr Perera thanked all of their employees for their hard work and for joining them on the journey to launch and grow :Different, despite today’s current destination not being what they had envisaged. 

“We launched :Different in 2017 to completely rebuild Australia’s property management industry,” they said.

“Our mission was to take care of homes and the people in them, with technology and people working hand in hand. 

“The property sector is so important to the economy and life here, but we believe it can be even better. 

“This mission is as vital as it ever was, and that we will work closely with KPMG to give what we have built the best chance of having an ongoing positive impact.”

Industry reaction

Industry reaction to :Different going into voluntary administration came with sympathy yesterday, with leaders in the property management sector emphasising that :Different had done a lot of good for real estate.

Kolmeo Chief Executive Officer Scott Bateman said :Different was to be commended for trying something new.

“The industry is so much better off for people really wanting to try new things, and challenge the way things are done,” he said.

“THat is a really good, healthy thing.

“One of the constant things we observe is when you look at the American market versus the Australian market, is the American market tends to celebrate people having a go, even if it doesn’t always work out.

“With the Australian market, we’re all too quick to make judgments as to why something hasn’t worked.”

Mr Bateman said the current funding market for all tech companies was tight and financing growth was hard at the moment.

“I think we’ve got to celebrate where people do have a go and my heart goes out to that team if that’s what they’re wrestling with,” he said.

“I can only imagine how difficult that would be for them.”

Real+ Chief Executive Officer Fiona Blayney said it was important to remember the significance of what :Different was working on.

This included :Different for Agencies, which was launched late last year as an all-in-one property management solution where :Different took care of agencies property management service delivery so that principals could focus solely on growing their rent roll and sales businesses.

“Even though it has come to this point, which saddens me for them as a business, I think we forget the enormity of what :Different was working on,” Ms Blayney said.

“Without businesses that take the risk and work at changing the landscape, we don’t have progress.

“And everyone in our industry wants progress. We all talk about doing things differently but we don’t do it. 

“So I think they’re actually to be commended. They’re to be commended for their bravery, for breaking the mould and I think they’re to be commended for challenging the status quo so abruptly.

“They’ve worked really hard. They’ve built technology platforms, enormous infrastructure, they’ve given jobs to countless people and they’ve allowed people to be a part of something that was forging a new way.”

Ms Blayney said :Different had challenged and created change in the industry and that was a good thing.

“We don’t want to have an industry that doesn’t embrace innovation or change,” she said.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.