Startup Stories: Jeremy Goldschmidt, Founder & CEO of RentBetter

RentBetter founder & CEO Jeremy Goldschmidt joins us to talk about building his tech platform, the Australian property market, raising $1.9 million, and more.

by hao-nguyen on April 29, 2022

Jeremy Goldschmidt is the founder & CEO of RentBetter, a tech platform empowering property owners to find, manage and interact with tenants without an agent.

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Can you tell us a little about RentBetter, what led you to founding the business over five years ago and why there is a need for it in the current market?

RentBetter is a tech platform for self-managing landlords who want to find tenants and manage their property at a fraction of the cost of using a traditional agent. Customers can access the same tools and services professionals use, and have everything in one place on the platform. We have had really strong growth over the past 12 months with the number of properties on the platform increasing by 225%. 

Australians love property. We have ~2m rental property owners and ~3m rental properties across the country. But they don’t always love the traditional property management model, which can be expensive and lacks transparency, control, and ultimately trust in the service provided.

It’s no wonder NPS scores are often negative, and surveys conducted by Roy Morgan find the real estate profession to consistently be one of the lowest ranking year after year. More and more property owners are moving towards self-management, and it’s estimated that somewhere between a quarter and a third of rental properties are now self-managed. 

My RentBetter journey began when I bought my first rental property about 15 years ago. I had worked so hard to save for a deposit, and this was my investment that I was going to look after. I took one look at the property manager and the management agreement and thought ‘there has to be a better way.’

As I managed my own property, I found family, friends, and friends of friends asking for guidance on how they could do it too. It became pretty obvious that there was a huge amount of demand for self-management, but limited tools and guidance to support people, and so RentBetter was born to help people take that first step, knowing that the tools and guidance they need are available through a single platform. 

How has your role as CEO changed, especially with the pandemic these past two years? 

The first and most obvious change has been the shift to remote working during lock-downs. On the one hand it made us a lot more flexible, but at the same time, a number of routines, meetings and processes became a bit more structured as we moved online.

Today we’re operating in a more hybrid model which seems to be working well, and we’re lucky that as a business all team members were able to adapt to this working style pretty seamlessly. 

The second change has simply been dealing with growth of the business, of the team and the volume of activity each day. The responsibilities of the CEO are similar, but building out a team and the way we operate has certainly changed, and again, I feel we have been really lucky to have added so many amazing and capable people over the last 2 years. 

What have been your biggest challenges over the past five years since launching RentBetter, and what have been the key lessons you learnt from them?

There are always so many incredible opportunities in the market, or that partners will bring to us, and the biggest challenge will always be maintaining a focus on a few key priorities. I don’t think that will ever change in this business, and it’s critical that we continue to have two or three big things that we focus on so that each and every day we’re getting closer to our goal.

It always sounds easy to say this, but from experience it is really hard not to chase the next shiny big thing! The key lesson has therefore been to stay focussed and force yourself to remove distractions (almost daily) so that you can stay true to the objectives of the business

A couple of months ago, it was announced that RentBetter raised $1.9 million – your largest funding round to date – to scale the business. Can you talk more about that process and how you plan to scale RentBetter?

We’re fortunate to have a really loyal (and growing) customer base. We’ve had customer reviews and NPS scores through the roof the past few years, and we work really hard to maintain that quality of service as we grow.

Ensuring our current customers always feel like they are getting a personal service has been critical to our growth to date, and we see it as our super power to help us grow. As more of our customers introduce their family and friends to RentBetter, we benefit.  

At the same time, the market is huge, so there is an opportunity to attract new customers every single day. We largely focus on digital channels to acquire customers, and we’re in the process of a refresh of our brand and design which is really exciting. We see this as a first step to helping more Australians take their first step in their self-management journey.  

We’re also building out a network of referral partners across professional services like mortgage brokers, property inspectors and property service providers who regularly deal with our customers at different points in their property lifecycle. Having great partners who understand the value we offer and can help us grow the business has been a really amazing part of our recent growth, and we look forward to adding even more partners. 

What’s next for RentBetter? Any exciting things coming up on the horizon?

A lot! 

A very recent and exciting feature for our customers, is the ability to book a professional for specific services when needed. We often receive requests for inspections and condition reports when customers are not in close proximity to the property, or simply unable to be there in-person. We can now offer our customers the ability to do this which has been really well received. 

At the same time, we’ve also been getting more and more requests from established players in the industry who are keen to include the RentBetter model into their business, and we’re exploring a number of opportunities to do this. It’s a really exciting evolution for a business, and one we know will lead to solidifying our position as the leading self-management platform for Australian landlords.

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