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These 7 proptech startups will help you climb the property ladder

Scott Carey | July 12, 2016
The property industry is ripe for disruption, as the estate-agent led business model remains deeply ingrained in the way people buy, sell and rent properties in the UK. Here are the startups looking to change that.

Young saw the opportunity arise from a system that doesn't put the consumer first, saying: "People aren't that fond of estate agents as it happens, so it's a bit of a broken system with very little regulation and wildly different service levels."

This is where Settled comes in, by offering a more personal, transparent service: "There's lots of smoke and mirrors, and models built around a sale and volume of sales," says Young, "generally one in three or four properties will fall through after an offer, and we are finding it extremely low, less than 0.5%."

The startup moved into the Garage Soho incubator in 2015 as it looks to improve its brand awareness. Settled has completed its second round of seed funding (amount undisclosed) with the Garage Soho.

Aidan Rushby

3. Movebubble

Co-founder and CEO of Movebubble Aidan Rushby has one aim: putting the renter first.

Anyone that has rented a property will know the familiar frustrations: trawling property aggregators to find the property, ringing the agent, being told there is already an offer, inflexibility. Movebubble's app ensures that properties are actually available, saving on that all too common feeling that your chasing ghosts.

Movebubble started out with the lofty aim of cutting those pesky estate agents out of the process altogether, but, as many of the companies on this list have found out, inventory is key, and the agents are the gatekeepers. "Originally when Movebubble was created we believed that renters don't want to deal with agents," Rushby told Techworld, "the reality is they will rent the property from wherever it is. The way we look at it Movebubble is there for the renter, and the agent is there for the landlord."

The app learns your preferences and tries to filter out undesirable properties the more you interact with it and helps filter out bad agents using an Airbnb style feedback loop. Movebubble is also trying to bring more transparency to the rental business, which is traditionally a black box, so how many times the property has been viewed and if there are actually offers in place will be integrated into the app.

According to Rushby, Movebubble currently lists around 70% of all property stock (13,537 according to the demo version of the app I was shown) in London and this comes 95% through estate agents, with some larger landlords topping up the inventory.

Currently Rushby is seeing the user base growth as quite slow, with just 30-40 downloads a day, with the majority of successful rentals being completed by fellow young tech professionals. For the time being Rushby is just concentrating on the product and building the user base, concluding: "Movebubble is here to make the experience for the renter unbelievable so they go through it seamlessly, then we'll look at how to monetise that."


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