Australian/SL start up ‘Different’ to change face of property management | Daily News
Career opportunities for Sri Lankan software engineers

Australian/SL start up ‘Different’ to change face of property management

Ruwin Perera, Mina Radhakrishnan and Scott Dolce, Head of Growth at Different
Ruwin Perera, Mina Radhakrishnan and Scott Dolce, Head of Growth at Different

Backed by one of Australia’s biggest venture capital funds, AirTree Ventures as well as the Silicon Valley Venture Capital fund, Foundation Capital, this new property tech start-up founded by the two Silicon Valley technology bigwigs from Uber and Google, promises to be far more than a tech solution.

Different is a full-service property management agency with a monthly fixed management fee per property. It has built apps which give tenants a way to easily lodge problems in the property that need to be fixed, as well as pay rent. Owners, on the other hand, can review previous transactions via their dedicated web application. Different is headquartered in Sydney, Australia with offices in Melbourne. The company has a 12 person strong in engineering presence in Colombo 5.

Different is founded by the former Global Head of product for Uber, Mina Radhakrishnan, and her Sri Lankan born husband Ruwin Perera, an Australian who was a Softbank director and former global business strategy principal for Google.

Radhakrishnan began her career as a business analyst for Goldman Sachs. She later joined Google in California, where she worked directly for Marissa Mayer. She was the first product manager at Uber and later ran the company’s product team for three years, leading initiatives such as new driver on-boarding and the addition of other types of car services. She is one of five inventors who jointly hold Uber’s 2013 patent on surge pricing. She also advises and mentors other companies.

Perera’s experience spans investment, corporate strategy, consulting and business process outsourcing. Ruwin Perera most recently was a Director at Softbank, the world’s largest Internet-sector investor, where he analysed potential investments and supported Softbank’s many portfolio companies on business improvement initiatives around the world. Prior to Softbank, Ruwin spent 3 years as a Principal in Google’s Global Business Strategy team at Google HQ in Mountain View CA. In this role, he led the Competitive Intelligence function and drove strategic projects across Google’s business. Prior to Google, Ruwin was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in San Francisco.

“Different is looking to hire great software engineers at different levels from Sri Lanka who have the consumer empathy to build great product experiences to aid us in our journey of building a global product company, and leveraging the best Sri Lankan know-how to do so”. Perera and Radhakrishnan stressed the fact that the engineers earn great salaries that are very competitive to market as they believe in hiring only the best and developing them to their maximum potential. On recruiting, Radhakrishnan said, “We are often getting engineering reaching out on our website and emailing us at [email protected]. Engineers are drawn to us because unlike working on short-term agency projects, they get to build a world-class product, and learn from our experiences in Silicon Valley”.

As far as their Sri Lankan operations are concerned, the Colombo office has a self-contained team of 12 software engineers and project managers who work in tandem with their Australian counterparts through a partnership with Sri Lankan born Silicon Valley heavyweight Rehan Fernando, and his office on Galle Road. Engineering projects vary from building reusable UI inventory components with React to building the next generation of their API using GraphQL and Javascript. Distributed configuration management using Vault and Consul, Codified infrastructure using Terraform and Packer and containerised platform using Docker and Nomad are some of the upcoming projects.

“Different offers the entire gamut of property management services from listing, pricing/rent setting, viewing of properties, tenant selection, payments, landlord protection plans, maintenance, inspections, paying of rates and taxes, while your owner portal ensures that all your important documents are just one click away”, said Perera. Different also provides clear, up to date monthly statements that you can access any time through your owner portal.

For instance, if a tenant is facing a problem, all he or she has to do is lodge the problem through the app and the app would automatically determine the best person for the job depending on the issue, location of the property and time to fix. Once the job has been accepted, the tenant and owner will be given the details. But for more complex problems, such as a tree falling on a house, etc, the agent would step in and personally manage the process.

Different hires smart experienced agents who focus on the things that only people can do like selecting the right tenants and ensuring you get the best return on your property investment. “With our intuitive technology, every owner has an online portal that gives them a management history of their home. It’s directly linked to our systems so it’s always complete and up to date. Whether it’s managing your property or finding you a new tenant, we do everything a traditional property manager does and so much more”, said Radhakrishnan.

“We want our people to focus on creating and nurturing great relationships with our owners and tenants rather than repeatedly managing mundane tasks. We do that by building systems from the ground up that understand the complex workflows we deal with. That means intelligent background automation across a variety of platforms, delightful consumer products and the seamless transition between people and technology. That’s why we have an NPS of 90, while still being able to manage properties more efficiently than anyone else”.


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