Different Technologies doubles down on Sri Lanka
September 03, 2019 –
- Makes multi-million dollar investment in Sri Lanka office, hires new Country Head, and moves key operational functions to its Colombo team.
Different Technologies, one of Australia’s hottest new start-ups, backed by AirTree Ventures (Australia’s largest VC firm) and Silicon Valley’s Foundation Capital, last week reaffirmed its commitment to Sri Lanka by doubling down on its investment in the country through a multi-million dollar investment into its Colombo office, making senior personnel hires and moving key operational functions, including real-time customer management, customer experience, maintenance, and supplier relationships, to the Colombo office.
:Different is a full-service property management agency that leverages technology and great people to redefine property management in Australia. The property management market is valued at AUD 4 billion and is primarily an offline, relationship-based industry. This over-reliance on people can be frustrating for both owners and tenants for a number of reasons, including poor response times, key personnel going on leave, and lack of real-time access to portfolio statements.
We can deliver a world class service to our customers by leveraging the best minds in Sri Lanka. The country is perfectly placed, with working hours seamlessly overlapping Europe’s morning and Australia’s evening, allowing us to provide real-time responsiveness even after work hours… great service is about being there when it’s convenient for your customers – Co-Founder/CEO Ruwin Perera
The company has hired experienced entrepreneur Rukmankan Sivaloganathan as its Country Head in Sri Lanka. Rukmankan has held senior positions at HSBC and SCB in Sri Lanka and Singapore before returning to Sri Lanka to start his own companies. He has an MBA from INSEAD and brings on board his entrepreneurial zeal, knowledge of the local market, strategic insight, and ability to execute, to help build a world-class operations team out of Sri Lanka. In addition to managing the Sri Lanka team, he will also be responsible for many key operational functions across the company.
The :Different Colombo office was only announced a few months ago and the team is now already 14 members strong. :Different is also looking to hire a world-class engineering manager to lead the team locally and be the product lead on the ground here. According to Rukmankan, the team will continue to grow at this pace to keep up with business growth in Australia, with Queensland launching in September and growth exploding in NSW and Victoria. The increased investment into engineering and operations demonstrates :Different’s commitment to harnessing the best minds in Sri Lanka to build a world-class technology company.
Different doubling down in Sri Lanka is significant for a number of reasons. It validates the quality of the country’s engineering, as the tech for one of Australia’s hottest start-ups is developed in-house here in Colombo; the expansion of the team to include key operational functions demonstrates that our talent extends to beyond just software development, nailing home the point that Sri Lankan companies should maximise value by building core products and delivering real services to end consumers, not just being outsourced labour for inefficient firms in the West – Country Head – Sri Lanka Rukmankan Sivaloganathan
“:Different does things, well, differently, by looking at existing industry processes, making them more efficient by keeping things that work well and discarding those that don’t, and then creating tech to automate those tasks that can be done more efficiently by technology than by humans,’’ said :Different Co-Founder Ruwin Perera. “For example, the Tenant App allows tenants to take pictures of maintenance issues at the property and send it through to the owner for approval within seconds and then have visibility over the status of this request, whereas previously they’d have to call the property manager, send an email with pictures, and then keep calling to find out the status of their maintenance request.”
Sivaloganathan went on to say that developing tech to handle the mundane tasks allows :Different to hire a talented team of experts to focus on building relationships with and providing value to owners, tenants, and suppliers. “This high-touch approach also provides the company with valuable insights into the different stakeholders’ needs, creating a virtuous loop of feedback and new products and services that constantly pushes the envelope on a truly world class property management experience.”
:Different is founded by Mina Radhakrishnan, the former Global Head of Product for Uber, and her Sri Lankan-born husband Ruwin Perera, a former Director at Softbank.
Radhakrishnan has worked at Goldman Sachs, Google, and ModCloth before becoming the first Product Manager at Uber and later running the company’s product team for three years. She is one of five inventors who jointly hold Uber’s 2013 patent on surge pricing. She also advises and mentors other companies.
Perera was most recently a Director at Softbank, one of the world’s largest Internet-sector investors, prior to which he spent three years as a Principal at Google’s Global Business Strategy team at Google HQ.