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More than four million Australians live in share houses, paying about $60 billion a year. So how is one Sydney-based startup disrupting the sector?
By
Philip Ly

Source:
SBS Small Business Secrets
29 Oct 2017 - 5:35 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb - 9:57 AM

Paying rent on time can be tricky, for those living with multiple housemates.

It’s something John Bush knows well, after being in charge of rent collection in his share house.

While there are platforms to keep track of costs, he says there’s nothing to specifically handle rent payments. So he came up with a solution to a common problem affecting share households.

“At its core, our technology is a split payments system,” he said.

Called Easyshare, since its inception in 2015 the business has evolved from a website to an app.

The app now supports bills, ‘IOUs’ and rent among housemates, and is purpose-built to schedule automatic transactions.

Reminders are also sent out covering any outstanding costs:  showing what’s still owed, who’s paid and who hasn’t.

Mr Bush thanked Qantas which has backed the business via its new AVRO Accelerator program.

However, it’s customers who must ultimately validate the business. So feedback is key, especially for a startup with limited resources.

“We did plenty of focus sessions, plenty of emails, plenty of phone calls,” he said.

“I personally jumped on the phone to all the customers to actually see how they wanted to use the products and what features they wanted.”

So far the business has helped process more than $10 million in rent and bills.

Mr Bush said Easyshare aims to maintain household harmony and eliminate tension.

Share house conflict is nothing new for Viv George, who’s been living out of home for years.

“In the past, I did get quite hurt and angry at the situation because [I did] feel like you’re being taken advantage of,” she said.

For Nathalie Jones, Easyshare has simplified the experience of renting with friends.

“We’ve been searching for a way to manage our finances as a household, and it’s made that less of a burden and less of a social strain,” Miss Jones said.

For Mr Bush, seed capital is crucial to move the business forward.

“It will help us hit our targets in the next 12-18 months and get us ready for an international expansion,” he said.

“The US and UK are key markets for us so our next funding will enable us to meet a global vision.”

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