Yabonza collapses into liquidation as the Aussie tech sector continues to feel the heat


Mark is the co-founder of Australian proptech startup Yabonza. Source: supplied.

The Aussie tech sector has experienced yet another casualty, with property tech startup Yabonza collapsing and entering liquidation.

Yabonza was founded back in 2017 by former Macquarie Group managers Simon Kinsey and Mark Trowell, poised as a progressive model to comprehensive property management services.

The company’s LinkedIn page says the smart property management business operates with “cutting-edge tech platform that drives efficiency, increases the ROI of your investment, and focuses on your a growth asset”. 

Its core offering was to collect and pay rent directly to landlords; select tenants; co-ordinate repairs and maintenance jobs; and undertake inspections and open homes, with investors also assigned an individual, dedicated asset manager.

Compared to the industry rental services average of a 6.8% fee, Yabonza charged a much lower 3.9% of rental income.

According to ASIC documents, the proptech startup is now officially in liquidation after Wexted Advisors’ Andrew McCabe and Joseph Hayes were appointed as administrators earlier this week.

Yabonza had been reported as a ‘rapid growth’ startup across its lifetime, growing its team to 20 staff before dwindling that figure back down to three staff members in recent months.

It had also closed numerous funding rounds over the years from a series of backers, including Charlton Real Estate Group and Sapsford Financial Services, and acquired fellow proptech disrupter Easyshare back in 2020.

As reported in The Australian Financial Review, McCabe said preliminary investigations “indicate the likely cause leading to our appointment was the termination of a service agreement by the company’s financier”.

“Investigations into the company’s affairs are continuing,” he said, with estimations that Yabonza owes creditors $2.5 million.

The AFR also reports that the administrators are continuing to trade the business in a limited capacity, while seeking EOIs for purchase of Yabonza’s remaining assets.

These assets include a national residential rent roll which was only acquired last September, and was expected to “[pave] the way for Yabonza to become one of the largest residential real estate groups in 2022”, a PR Wire report reads.

According to the announcement, published on September 21, 2021, Trowell had said the rent roll was an “exciting direction” for Yabonza.

“COVID-19 caused a number of funding channels to dry up for a lot of startups in 2020,” Trowell said.

“With this change in direction and with the launch of the Yabonza Rent Roll Fund, it has allowed us to really super charge our growth plans and focus on our product offering to our customers.”

The first meeting of the creditors of the company will be held on the August 5, 2022.

The tech crunch

The global tech industry has seen shifts and changes post-pandemic, where startups that grew rapidly due to COVID-19 behaviours now being reigned back in as life returns to ‘normal’.

Instant delivery startups have been especially feeling the heat, with SEND collapsing into voluntary administration back in May, VOLY winding back its operations and delivery-time promises in June, and Delivr collapsing earlier this week.

For startups continuing their operations, many are doing so by pulling back, resulting in many tech workers now out of jobs.

Recently, fintech startup InDebted cut 40 staff in a quest to halt growth, and Aussie Web3 unicorn Immutable laid off a number of its staff just months after its $3.5 billion valuation.

E-commerce giant Shopify also cut its global workforce by 10% — around 1000 staff — with many Australian workers affected.


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