Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), through its venture-scaling entity x15ventures, today announced a new strategic partnership with a fast-growing Australian property management company :Different, with thousands of owners, tenants and properties under management.
The partnership will include CBA taking a minority shareholding in :Different, alongside highly regarded venture capitalists including Antler.
Toby Norton-Smith, Managing Director of x15ventures, who joins the Board of :Different, said: “Combined with our rapidly growing conveyancing platform Home-in and the recent announcement of Unloan, the property sector is clearly a space where we feel we can develop the next generation of high quality digital services for home buyers, property investors and property managers.”
:Different is a property management disruptor that was co-founded in 2017 by two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Mina Radhakrishnan and her husband Ruwin Perera, who gained deep product development experience while working at Google, Uber and other tech giants. Mina was recently appointed Director of the Tech Council of Australia, and the pair bring their experience of building a data-driven platform to benefit property investors.
:Different digitises many parts of property management to remove and reduce pain points, paperwork, admin and time consuming manual tasks faced by property owners, investors and renters. For example, streamlining the process to report, quote and manage maintenance requests through the :Different app.
Over time, :Different will be made available to customers through the CommBank app, to support property investors with guidance throughout the entire home buying and owning journey alongside CBA’s new Home Buying Hub and Home-In, a digital home loan conveyancing platform. :Different will deliver exclusive discounts and benefits for CBA customers.
CBA Group Executive Retail Banking Services, Angus Sullivan, said: “As the country’s biggest supporter of getting Aussies into homes, we aim to be the most trusted partner at the centre of our customer’s lives and be there for them at moments that matter. Today’s announcement to partner with such a disruptive business further differentiates and expands what we are able to deliver for our investor home loan customers.
“Much like our recently announced investments in Amber and Little Birdie, this is an example of us carefully selecting a high-profile, high-growth tech enabled business and exclusively introducing them to CBA customers to offer an enhanced level of service. We see this partnership as an important part of our overall home buying strategy and one that will be core to the way we support our customers to manage their homes and grow their wealth”.
The investment in :Different was made through the bank’s venture-scaling entity, x15ventures, which continues to deliver on its purpose to build, buy and invest in new digital businesses that bring disruptive and best in category services to customers.
Mr Norton-Smith said: "We’ve added significant breadth to CBA’s home buying ecosystem with Credit Savvy, Home-in and now :Different, as well as Unloan, a new type of home loan coming soon.
“Given the important role that CBA plays in the lives of so many Australians, we want to keep investing in and building ventures that deepen that relationship. Using :Different’s platform to connect our retail and small business customers means we will be able to provide significant value to tenants and investors alike. Co-founders of :Different, Mina Radhakrishnan and Ruwin Perera, are industry disruptors and we’re excited to help them accelerate their vision.”
Co-founder of :Different, Mina Radhakrishnan said: “We started :Different to look after the homes and the people who live in them. Our mission is to be the all-encompassing assistant to the home, and partnering with CBA brings us one step closer to achieving this. We are both aligned on the importance of providing great experiences and value to our customers, and this partnership means together, we’ll help millions of Australians access an end-to-end digital home buying solution.”