Real-estate entrepreneurs have never featured strongly in the 30under30. This is because we don’t think that owning 127 properties by age 22 is particularly entrepreneurial.
In our opinions, entrepreneurship is not about personal wealth creation. It’s about the process of creation itself! This year, three real-estate entrepreneurs grabbed our attention, not because of the number of Torrens Titles stashed under their beds, but because each has built a business around the real-estate industry at a tender age.
Venture: Elephant Property Tasmania
Bella Fountain brought some background in traditional property to a more focused approach that became Elephant Property Tasmania. The business, which she started with two partners in 2009, filled a niche in Launceston for property management catering only to investors. Within 18 months, the company was statewide. And Fountain did it with energy, panache and sticking to her guns. “I get to be my own person. Call me stubborn or headstrong, or just difficult, but the truth is I’ve found it hard to stifle my own ideas in large workplaces.”
Bella Fountain’s words to succeed by:
“We are a constantly evolving beast, designed to work around family commitments, travel and life in general. I still get to make systems better every day, thrill clients and control my own earnings, but I never have to sacrifice my family or sanity to do so.”
Ben Levi refers to property management in a refreshingly straightforward way: “A vital but boring subject.” He is trying to change that with RentingSmart, a online management tool scheduled to launch by the end of this year. Levi says RentingSmart will create leases, automate rent and expense payments, track maintenance needs and help find tradesmen. He says his drive to succeed is inspired by a cousin who passed away 18 months after an accident left him a quadriplegic. “He never gave up. He smiled every day. If he could do that, starting a business is simple,” Levi says.
Ben Levi’s words to succeed by:
“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew, hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”
Venture: Find Investment Property
Mark Mendel’s Find Investment Property, launched in February 2009, aggregates information about Australian property on a cleanly designed website. The site helps investors and buyers in Australia and around the world shop for off-the-plan and newly constructed property. Mendel said he changed his business model four times on the fly, and it has paid off; the website has about 17,000 visitors a month and a client database of more than 10,000. Find Investment Property is as much an offline business as online; Mendel say most client service takes place outside the Internet.
Mark Mendel’s words to succeed by:
I get fairly bored doing the same thing for long periods of time, so being an entrepreneur allows me to explore new business opportunities and develop new ones. The final goal is to be in control and to be able to provide for my family.