MadeComfy, Australia’s first performance-based short-term rental (STR) management company, recently announced it has secured circa $6 million in funding – the largest capital raising yet in the sector – with the latest round of investment coming from global investment bank, Investec, and existing investors.
Established by co-founders Quirin Schwaighofer and Sabrina Bethunin in 2015, MadeComfy has been growing at over 500% year-on-year, and now manages a property portfolio worth over $600 million across Sydney and Melbourne, welcoming over 4,000 guests per month. MadeComfy’s unique, data-driven approach delivers owners 40% or higher rental returns than any other form of rental, while guests enjoy a truly unique and high-quality experience from their short-term stay.
This is MadeComfy’s second round of capital raising, with previous investment coming in 2017 from high-profile business personalities including Cliff Rosenberg (Former MD, LinkedIn ANZ & SEA), Rolf Hansen (Co-Founder and ex-CEO, of ASX-listed Amaysim) and Peter O’Connell (Co-Founder and ex-Chairman of Amaysim).
“MadeComfy is a clear investment choice for Investec,” said David Phillips, Head of Investec Emerging Companies, who now joins MadeComfy’s Board as a Non-Executive Director. “Our extensive research revealed it is a market leader in the Australian short-term rental management space. MadeComfy is led by an extremely strong team with an excellent track record and has exciting new developments in the pipeline.”
MadeComfy Co-Founder Quirin Schwaighofer said, “We are thrilled with this new investment from Investec. It shows confidence not only in our business model, but also the hard-working MadeComfy team who are committed to delivering customer excellence. Over the past two and a half years, MadeComfy has helped many property owners, guests and communities maximise the benefits of the short-term rental industry. We are excited to expand this even further into new markets and with new products.”
MadeComfy also revealed that on top of the circa $6 million capital raise, they have kept an additional $1 million open for selected strategic investors to join the latest round (including follow-on rights).
“We wanted to keep the investment opportunity open for selected parties from the real estate, travel and hospitality space who could add immediate value to our growth plans,” added Schwaighofer.
What exactly does MadeComfy do?
Unlike the many Airbnb management companies who only provide cleaning and listing management services, MadeComfy delivers a tailored, end-to-end management service for short-term rentals, including property furnishing and styling, analytical pricing, 24/7 booking and guest management, housekeeping and maintenance.
In addition, MadeComfy works across a range of booking platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com and Stayz, allowing the company to maximise rental revenue for homeowners while also providing an exceptional guest experience.
It’s been a big week for MadeComfy, who have also signed exclusive property management partnerships with Raine & Horne’s largest agency in Australia, Dee Why, and Belle Property agencies in Mosman and Neutral Bay. Without changing their agency relationship, homeowners can now easily access a short-term rental option while their homes continue to be managed by suburb specialists.
“After carefully reviewing several emerging companies in the short-term rental space, we decided to partner with MadeComfy as we feel that both of our businesses are aligned in providing outstanding customer service and maximising the rental returns for our clients,” says Peter Mosedale, Director of Raine & Horne Dee Why.
With Australia’s short-term rental market now contributing an estimated $6 billion to the Australian economy and creating over 40,000 full-time jobs, MadeComfy’s growth and this new round of investment shows market confidence in a vital, growing industry.
What is the story behind MadeComfy?
When Sabrina Bethunin left Venezuela for Australia in 2012, she has no idea that, six years later, she would be an entrepreneur leading one of the country’s most successful startups. As co-founder of MadeComfy, Australia’s first performance-based, short-term rental (STR) management company, Sabrina manages $600m worth of property, and recently raised with co-founder Quirin Schwaighofer over $6m in equity funding – the largest yet in the local STR sector.
Growing up in Venezuela, Sabrina was from a family of dreamers and entrepreneurs. After school she gained a degree in Accounting. She first came to Australia in 2008 on a short-term assignment of six months with Colgate-Palmolive, for whom she was working at the time, as part of her professional pathway to CFO level. During that visit she was captivated by the warmth of the people, and how open Australia was to diversity. She felt at home from day one, and decided she to relocate independently.
Landing in Perth during the mining boom in 2012, with only her suitcases and limited English, Sabrina secured a job with Rio Tinto as an accountant. She admits that understanding Australian slang was baffling at first – she had to ask a colleague what her boss meant when he said “g’day” every morning when passing her desk. After a few years in Perth, Sabrina moved to Sydney, where the sharing economy was beginning to take hold.
Sabrina’s introduction to the concept of short term rentals came about unexpectedly, when her friend Quirin asked her to manage key handover of his Cremorne apartment, which he had listed on Airbnb while he was travelling. When she turned up to his apartment, she found a typical man cave. Dark, unattractive bedding, a cardboard box as a bedside table, and absolutely no flair. Sabrina set to work restyling the flat, uploaded new images and watched the booking price soar. She had a new business idea.
Sabrina teamed up with Quirin, who had a background in sales, operations management and strategy. Together they recognised a gap in the market – the need for a company to manage end to end services for short term rental properties. They saw the need for furnishing and styling, guest management, housekeeping and listing optimisation.
Three and a half years later, MadeComfy is Australia’s leading short-term rental business, managing a property portfolio of over $600 million in Sydney and Melbourne, welcoming over 4,000 guests per month, and they are about to expand into the Queensland market.
They have been financially backed by investment company Investec and former Linkedin Managing Director Cliff Rosenberg, and they have an advisory board with a number of industry disruptors, including the co-founders of Amaysim. They employ a staff of 70, have recently formed an exclusive property management agreement with Belle Property Group and Raine and Horne Real Estate in Dee Why.
Sabrina has always been inspired by the power of positive thinking. She is an Accountant, MBA and CPA, and has studied Australian Corporate and Taxation Law, photography and marketing. Sabrina is always keen to learn new things. Her favourite quote is from Maickel Melamed, a famous Venezuelan marathon runner who suffers from a rare muscular disorder: “Nothing is big enough to not try”.