In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.

At a glance

Founders: Luke Nicholls & Aaron Rama

Business: Keyhook

Founded: 2019

HQ: Wellington

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

While most industries have taken huge technological leaps in the past ten years, the property management industry in New Zealand has been slow to evolve. A lot of what self-managing landlords do today is still done on spreadsheets in the evenings and over the phone on the weekends.

The Keyhook app enables landlords to take back their time without having to pay what are often exorbitant fees to property managers and other third parties.

Keyhook was built in New Zealand to improve the rental experience for both landlords and their tenants. We started small but now boast a growing team of passionate property and PropTech professionals who are both landlords and tenants, and who can all agree on two things:

  1. Good landlords want to provide a secure home to responsible tenants at a fair price.
  2. Good tenants want to pay a fair price for a healthy house that they can call their home.

By bringing together good landlords and good tenants, and simplifying traditional rental property management down to just a few clicks, Keyhook makes creating great tenancies easy.

Keyhook uses AI, machine learning and the power of native cloud technologies to streamline and automate the majority of the tasks of a traditional property manager.

Luke and Aaron built Keyhook with one simple ethos: Any Kiwi, no matter your technology background or your understanding of the New Zealand legislation, should be able to manage your properties wonderfully and provide an amazing experience to your tenants.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

Keyhook was founded by two Wellingtonians, Luke Nicholls and Aaron Rama. Luke and Aaron have been best friends since kindergarten. And while Luke focused on technology business development across New Zealand, Aaron was building and selling multiple technology companies in San Francisco.

The duo connected over a meal in 2019 and Luke, a landlord, and Aaron, a renter, both realised that the property management industry was stagnant and was overdue some much needed disruption.

A best of breed product was imagined, taking advantage of modern technologies and automating the majority of the tasks that a traditional property manager would do. Keyhook went live to the public in August 2022. Since then, Keyhook boasts thousands of users across New Zealand who have entrusted Keyhook as their rental management solution of choice.

What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?

Keyhook has a small but expert group of business, technology and property advisors working alongside it. As a group, we meet regularly and are held to account for our deliverables and targets as a business. We also have the ability to leverage the knowledge and network of our advisors on an ad-hoc basis which has proven to be invaluable.

We cannot recommend enough finding invested, exciting, and thought provoking advisors who will hold you to account.

As a business, we have an individual target in each sprint to learn something new. This could be something small like understanding upcoming technology changes, or something specific like detailing property legislation changes that are being proposed in cabinet. This has proven to be a valuable learning tool for everyone when they are asked to report back into the business as a team once a fortnight what they have learnt over the previous sprint.


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