Case Studies

PKF supports the establishment and sale of thriving start-up

Looking for more than an accountant to support the establishment and sale of your start-up?

In 2008, CEO Brendan Darcy of the United Kingdom founded business, Hometrack, was looking for help to bring their product to Australia.

Hometrack digitally assesses valuation and property risk whilst maintaining safe decisions – all at an even higher level than current automated valuation models (AVM).

Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool and through colleagues, Brendan heard of the amazing work our Business Advisory Director and Start-Up Specialist, Nick Falzon was doing in the start-up space. He knew they had to partner together to fill the gap and need in the Australian market for the same software.

Despite the geographical roadblocks, PKF worked closely with Hometrack from day one, supporting them to become a world-wide conglomerate right up until the business ceased to be a stand-alone entity.

Nick has been a genuine, trusted adviser with us and the business through all stages of its lifecycle. It doesn’t matter where he or we were located, he was always actively engaged and helped bring our business from the ground up.

Managing the geographical roadblocks

Hometrack is a software designed to easily value properties and property risk through a combination of algorithms based on public resources, including location, house sales and more – but it was originally created for an overseas market.

PKF Australia is part of the PKF International network which has offices in 440 cities, in 150 countries, across five continents.

With access to a world-wide community of business and financial experts who understand the global market and how it influences business operations in Australia, we understand the complexities of bringing a product into a new country – legally, financially, and practically.

Brendan knew that Nick and his team would be the seamless sounding board their start-up needed.

When Hometrack set up and began trading in Australia it was a very small organisation. We were a true business adviser in all financial aspects for the CEO. Brendan and I would speak regularly on a range of topics and our role was to be professional but pragmatic, Nick said.

Successful acquisition of Hometrack Australia

For founders of start-up businesses, the end vision though varied, holds one common goal – success. Collaboratively working with Hometrack Australia, we worked on all aspects of the business; facilitating audits, employee share plans, sales, due diligence and more, always rectifying any issues and providing solutions to achieve success.

For Hometrack Australia, the finish line was to sell the thriving start-up to an established company.

Finding a suitable buyer for the company was the next step, ensuring the goals of each party aligned.

Acquired by (REA Group) in 2018 for $130 million in cash, Brendan said REA was “a natural fit” for the company, while REA CEO Tracey Fellows described the acquisition as a “natural extension for”.

Nick went above and beyond, ensuring communication with Hometrack Australia (still operating autonomously in the United Kingdom) was still open and clear whilst he conducted the process sale and due diligence with both Hometrack Australia and REA’s accountant.

Hometrack Australia’s management team continued to be led by Brendan, operating under its existing structure and brand at the time.

“By the time REA bought the Hometrack Australia business it was a very significant enterprise, but the sale process was certainly challenging. Being in California while Hometrack’s head office was in London, and REA and the Hometrack Australia business were in Sydney made for some interesting times for meetings.

“Brendan and I were also the only two people that had a full corporate tax and accounting history so, once again, we were working very closely together, and I was so pleased to be able to provide support. It was such a nice culmination of my professional relationship with the company.” Nick said.

In 2021, REA Group rebranded Hometrack Australia to PropTrack and launched a new application programming interface (API) and customisable widgets providing customers with access to property market data and insights.

Brendan said, “The launch of PropTrack coincided with bringing to life many expanded opportunities for our customers.”

The PKF difference

Our team of business experts and start-up specialists understand what a business needs to succeed, no matter your idea of success. If you are after business start-up support, our team of specialists can help you determine and meet your goals and establish your business from start to finish whilst achieving sustainable growth in the Australian market.

We help your emerging business to succeed, faster.

For strategic, unique start-up advice, get in contact with our trusted team of specialists today.

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