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Who Is Chris Rolls? An interview with Startup Lounge host Chris Rolls.

Shaun McCambridge interviews Startup Lounge host Chris Rolls who is one of Australia’s most prolific entrepreneurs. During the past 20 years, Chris Rolls has built from scratch four different businesses across four different industries, making him one of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs. Three of these businesses – Rental Express, SCODY Performance Wear and First Class Accounts – have become amongst the largest of their kind in Australia.

Through Rental Express, (a technology enabled property management business) Chris built the largest privately owned residential property management business in Queensland with more than $2 billion of residential investment property under management across 300 suburbs. Chris sold Rental Express in 2015 to BRW rich lister Paul Little in what has widely been regarded as the largest sale of a privately owned property management business in Australia.

Chris is the founder of PieLAB Venture Partners, a Brisbane based Venture Capital business which invests in real estate related technology businesses. The fund investors are Australia’s most influential real estate businesses who collectively control approximately 7% of the Australian real estate market. Chris is considered one of the most influential people in the Australian Real Estate Industry and has presented keynote presentations at every major real estate conference in Australia and New Zealand, on the subjects of property management, real estate business growth and entrepreneurship.

Chris is regularly requested to offer media comment on entrepreneurship and property-related issues. He’s appeared in “Your Investment Property” and “Australian Property Investor” magazines, “The Courier Mail” and “The Australian” newspapers.

Chris has Bachelor Degree in Sports Science an MBA from Melbourne Business School and has studied private equity and venture capital investment at Harvard Business School and The University of California Berkeley. He also previously worked as the Operations Director at ASX-listed investment group Arowana International.

Key Take Aways:

During this Podcast Chris talks about:

  • His early days as a child entrepreneur running his school canteen and various other somewhat dubious ventures.
  • How businesses that are based on intimate relationships with customers are difficult to scale.
  • Why people are the key to success in building any organisation, and why the most important skill of any CEO is the ability to align people to a common goal.
  • How being vulnerable is the single most important leadership trait, and
  • The important role that selling has being successful founder and entrepreneur.

About the author, Chris Rolls

Chris Rolls is the Managing Director of PieLAB Venture Partners who manage Australia’s first real estate specific venture capital fund. The Real Estate Industry Venture Capital Fund 2016 (REIVC16) is a $20 million fund that invests in businesses that provide products and services to the real estate industry. The fund’s investors are owners of Australia’s leading real estate agencies who recognize that only by working together can the industry avoid being victims of technological disruption. Prior to PieLAB Chris built and sold Rental Express one of the largest property management businesses in Australia.

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