Jay Kanahara – founder of Suburbya

Jay Kanahara has spent the last 7 years working in Financial services focussing on Audit and Risk Management. Initially starting out as an External Auditor at PwC, Jay moved on to ANZ as a Risk and Assurance Manager having completed his chartered accounting qualification. Prior to this, he spent many years in Uni enjoying himself and earning a Masters in Accounting.

At Suburbya, Jay focuses on the strategic direction of the business, customer development and finance.

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Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

Suburbya.com.au is an online marketplace that matches busy working professionals with local trusted cleaners. Focussing initially on cleaning, prior to moving onto other verticals, we aim to put the customer at the very centre of all decision making when it comes to searching, booking and paying for home services. Suburbya allows you to find, book and pay for a cleaner’s time via its online platform. Cleaners on the Suburbya.com.au platform charge a flat rate of $29 per hour. The introduction of Suburbya means that people looking for a reliable cleaner no longer have to pester their friends for recommendations or deal with local cleaning provider which can lead to time consuming negotiations.

Please explain your business model.

It’s relatively straight forward. We allow a customer to make a home cleaning booking online for a pre determine number of hours depending on number of bed rooms, bathrooms and any extras. We charge $29 per hour. We keep a small margin to run the platform and pass on the remaining fee to the professionals.

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months? 

We are now executing our go to market plan so the initial focus will be all about fine tuning our funnel and continually listening to our customers to ensure we deliver a quality product. We will also be moving into office space later on in the month so it’ll be exciting working together all through the week rather than relying on Skype meetings, emails and phone calls.

How important is office space for recruiting people and keeping them happy?

When you’re a startup, you find space you can afford and you probably don’t have money to do anything with it. If you’re hiring away from a big tech company, it helps to be in a good location with high-quality facilities. Millennials do not see the same boundaries between work life and home life that older generations did. They are constantly “connected” and working. Office location is important. They want to live and work in an urban environment without a long commute between the two. Top talent, expects it all and we’re trying to accommodate this.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

Customer education is what we continually fight with and ensuring we engage the early adopters quickly as possible. Coming up a with a brand new idea is great as long as you can educate the customers to a point they are comfortable enough to engage the a new business model.

What tools do you use to stay productive? 

Google docs to make sure the entire team has access to documents, Basecamp for project management, Notepad app to jot down any ideas, Meetup to see what local startup events I should attend and Skype for meetings.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment? 

I’m a big fan of Ruslan Kogan having listened to him speak at several events. His initial journey (not the results!) is somewhat relatable to myself having worked in a large corporation then finally deciding to take the plunge into the world of startups. I loved how he hustled in his early days and I’m trying to follow a similar approach at the moment. I also admire the work Jack Delosa does with the entourage and their bi annual entrepreneur events called the Unconvention educating small business owners in Australia.

 What about internationally?

Even though he’s quite controversial at the moment, I admire Travis Kalanick and the sheer determination he has shown to over come failure and finally succeed with Uber. I have to also mention Richard Branson being somewhat of a role model. Reading his book ‘Losing my Virginity’ really changed my outlook on life.

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

Yes being an early stage start up we’re always on the look out for new talent, investors and people with deep domain expertise to join our advisory board. Specifically we’re looking for a growth hacking expert who can help us scale up our product not just in Melbourne but also in Sydney and Brisbane. We are also looking for interns to help us build out our content plan, execute our social media strategy and help with general marketing activities. We are looking to secure a first round of capital so actively looking for angels and investors who see home services as a key growth area. As you can see, plenty of opportunities to get involved with Suburbya!

What has been your biggest challenge in bringing your idea to life?

 Vision without execution is pretty much hallucination. In order to execute, you have to build a great team, positive working culture, be completely on the same page with your co founders and have a great support group. More time in the day can also help!

We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?

What are the best go to market strategies early stage consumer tech companies have used to successfully scale up. Any new ideas on growth hacking is always welcome too.

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

I can’t say I have one favourite bar but any bars/restaurants on Meyer place in Melbourne CBD works for me.

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