An innovative app designed by a Bay of Plenty entrepreneur has been downloaded a million times by users on Google Play and Apple's App Store.
Mount Maunganui-born and raised Richard Saville, who is now based in Brisbane, was back on home soil this week and spoke to NZME about his venture, Break Your Lease, which has taken the market by storm.
Sitting at the dining room table beside his grandfather Richard James Sullivan, Saville said the idea for the app that lets people list and take over contracts — residential and commercial rental leases; vehicle, boat or jet ski loans; gym memberships — came to him following a 10-year stint in real estate.
"I was doing a lot of leasing and there were always some who wanted to break leases and that costs. So I thought, why not create a platform that has more reach than Facebook?"
App users list a lease or loan for someone else to take over, which allows the user to put up pictures, the exit conditions and the remainder of the current period.
Research showed there was nothing quite like it even in the United States or United Kingdom, so he decided "we'd better jump on it".
"We patented it and trademarked it with Apple worldwide. It's a bit like Tinder."
The app, which is now available in New Zealand, was launched in Australia in May last year on the Sunrise and Today Show and went "crazy", Saville said.
"We have just hit one million downloads in Australia so that is a massive milestone. Apple also re-ranked its app ratings two months ago and we ranked number 18 in the lifestyle category."
Saville credited part of his success to his web developer Wade Reid, "who is a genius" and used to work for the Defence Force in Australia.
No stranger to celebrities, Saville used to work as a host and rubbed shoulders with stars including Mario, 50 Cent and legendary Jamaican recording star Sean Paul — who recommended Reid, ironically.
"I was humming and haring. And then they said anything Wade builds gets put on the featured Apple Store because of all the deals he does for Sean Paul's YouTube and Spotify music.
"I was like 'that is a win'."
But it has not been an easy ride.
"It's been a lot of hard work and we've left no stone unturned, really."
Marketing was key and Saville said he had used pop stars, NRL players, Sean Paul and a few Australian cricketers.
Now he had his sights set on television ads in New Zealand and Australia, as well as This Morning UK and Good Morning America.
"Hopefully that will give us a good kick overseas."
Saville, who was a Tainui descendant, said his mind was ticking all the time but he felt a close affinity to Tauranga and before Covid he came back regularly.
Sullivan said he was proud of his grandson and they would go fishing and have a hangi before he went back to Brisbane.
Meanwhile, Saville hopes other young Māori will chase their dreams because "it is a new world out there".
"It is the new way of making good money - you come up with the right idea, concept or system and you never know what can happen."
Chief executive of economic development agency Priority One, Nigel Tutt, said the entrepreneurial community in Tauranga was surprisingly strong.
"We have a number of companies across the different ranges that have been successful with what kind of tech-related exports they are taking on the world, which is really pleasing to see.
"I think the other really good thing is having Māori entrepreneurs that are role models."
Tutt said most jobs in the future would be in tech and youth needed to be encouraged into those jobs.
"Unfortunately, Māori in particular don't tend to go into tech jobs as much, so having good role models is important for our community."
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said it proved anyone could have a great idea, but what set Saville apart from others is he had executed his idea really well.
"Tauranga's entrepreneurs can have similar successes by plugging into the local innovation community. It is easy for people with ideas to connect with specialists who know how to execute, and the capital to make things happen on a large scale."
Meanwhile, last year two Auckland tenants, who bought a house then sought to break an annual fixed-term tenancy agreement for their rental within just two months of signing, were fined more than $2600 after trying to escape their obligations.
The NZ Herald said the tenants were ordered to pay $2657 in rent due until when it was declared the tenancy ended.
The tenants' bond of $2400 should also be paid to the rental agency, the tribunal ordered.
A spokesperson for the rental agency said at the time: "We property managers, we always look to make these situations as financially amicable as possible for both parties. That said, the owners shouldn't have to forgo rental income when a tenant decides to move on from a fixed-term contract.
Tenancy Services Dispute Resolution statistics also show from January 1 this year to March 31 nationally the Tenancy Tribunal received 378 applications to quit.
What is Break your Lease?
• A social platform connecting people who advertise a lease they are needing to break with others who want to find shorter leases to suit their needs.
• There is a download charge which starts at $8.99.
• You can download from Google Play and Apple Store and start your first listing for free.