Airtasker co-founder reaches new heights and continues disrupting major industries across the globe
Airtasker co-founder, Jonathan Lui (BE ‘06), opens up about the company going public, his future in building disruptive online businesses and the importance of support networks.
Graduating from UNSW with a Bachelor of Telecommunications Data Networks, Jonathan Lui co-founded Airtasker with fellow UNSW graduate Tim Fung (BCom `06) in 2012, and in March 2021 the company debuted on the ASX.
“To see Airtasker live on the ASX was a great feeling and a huge accomplishment after 10 years of hard work. However, there is still so much opportunity for Airtasker, including expanding into other countries.
“Whilst the company is now public, the mission hasn’t changed and the growth strategy is even bigger, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what the next 10 years has in store,” says Jonathan.
When asked what factors contributed to the success of Airtasker, Jonathan revealed, “achieving a strong product fit early on and making the right decisions at the right time”.
The first version of Airtasker ran primarily on cashed-based payments, but a few years later, with the rise of Uber and Airbnb, online payments became greatly adopted by Australians.
“It was then that we decided to launch an integrated payment solution into Airtasker. This allowed us to offer a seamless end to end experience in our marketplace for both buyers and sellers. This really helped us accelerate our growth and become the household name that Airtasker is today,” says Jonathan.
In 2016, Jonathan stepped down from his role as Chief Operating Officer at Airtasker to take time to be with family and immerse himself in the Singapore startup scene. Since then, he has launched a new venture that builds on his years of hard-earned startup experience.
“Building disruptive online businesses is what I love to do, and the real estate sector is the next industry that I have turned my attention to.
“The current property industry operates on a ‘legacy business model’ and isn’t aligned with what the market actually wants. Property seekers want to see properties, and agents want to sell them, but they’re being stifled by unnecessary online listing fees. I felt that this was a huge opportunity, so developed the Soho app.”
Dubbed as ‘LinkedIn for property’, the Soho app provides ways for buyers, renters, owners, and real estate agents to facilitate the buying and management of properties, offering services like live chat, document management, finance tracking and property listings.
“We've been growing very quickly and given the expected property boom in Australia this year, there's a lot of opportunity for Soho to become a really successful real estate platform in Australia.”
For budding entrepreneurs, Jonathan advises to frequently seek guidance from your support networks. “As an entrepreneur, you never get things 100% right, but speaking to colleagues, mentors, investors and advisors definitely helps you make better decisions.”
“My number one tip for startups is to remain focused and humble. While a new business requires a lot of attention, like addressing challenges and fixing problems, don’t forget to look for growth opportunities. Lastly, don’t get carried away with your own success!”
About Jonathan Lui
Founding several businesses in Australia and Singapore, Jonathan is an investor, mentor and supporter of the APAC tech startup ecosystems and has raised over $85M across his ventures Soho, Airtasker, Tank Stream Labs and Tank Stream Ventures. Currently based in Singapore he has a strong technical background with a keen focus on disruptive marketplaces and network effect-based platforms. He is a huge proponent of focusing on strong product and technology delivery in startups and continues to invest and advise startups who are disrupting major industries across the globe.