Elevator Pitch: Granny Flat Finder

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Harry Laos from Granny Flat Finder.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Granny Flat Finder is an online marketplace connecting buyers with sellers of small homes and granny flats across Australia. It's a weird concept, but bear with me. Recent changes in building legislation allow for these 'granny flats' to be built in backyards, then rented by the owner, opening the flood gates to a new form of property investment for the everyday Australian.

The platform's value-add is its ability to rank suppliers based on genuine merit, such as viewing all completed jobs. Far better than dubious reviews and impersonal quotes engines.

We literally let a supplier's work speak for itself! Then we let the customer decide on what product and service provider is right for them by connecting them with competitive quotes with a 24-hour turnaround.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

We've learned that 'sweat equity' and applying our own expertise in digital marketing, development, economics and sales of the co-founders has brought the company further than ever expected.

We're now considering a first round of capital raising, with several early expressions of interest. For us, choosing investors will be more about what expertise and business synergies they can bring to the table to grow the platform, rather than jumping at the first dollar offer.

What's the biggest challenge facing your business?

Funnily enough, the biggest challenge we're facing is keeping pace with the high volumes of enquiry data, trying to translate that into 'bite sized' meaningful insights to be used quickly for improving our model for our customers and suppliers.

How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?

It's quite simple really: we believe that a finished job speaks for itself and that a picture tells a thousand words, allowing a customer to make an informed buying decision. Unlike the 'churn and burn' of quotes engines or dubious review engines we've delivered this transparency and meritocracy by allowing customers to view all verified suppliers and all portfolios of finished works for free. Vice versa, suppliers can participate absolutely for free.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

When I say Facebook, please don't judge me. It's an addictive sensation to enjoy yourself with images of travel, friends and places you'd rather be (like a Tahitian surf break!). It's the kind of thing that keeps you going, striving to achieve the light at the end of the tunnel. You can also stay on top of all your competitors when they action marketing strategies (keep that one quiet).

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

Stay true to your morals and weigh yourself up against the very highest in business, but never lose your ability to walk among the rest of us.

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