Sir Charles Dunstone (right), founder of Carphone Warehouse and Chairman of TalkTalk and of Dixons Carphone, together with his business partner, Roger Taylor, last week committed a substantial investment of £5 million into online estate agents HouseSimple, Online Agency of the Year winner at The Negotiator Awards 2014.
The investment highlights the increasing appeal of the online estate agency market, with many analysts projecting room for growth over the next few years, supported by the low cost nature of online estate agency.
HouseSimple provides a full estate and letting agency service, from valuation guidance, photography, floor plans, hosted viewings, negotiation and full management of the sale or rental, through to completion, with costs starting from £290 which is generally cheaper compared the cost of a high street agent.
Charles Dunstone said: “We believe estate agency is going to change considerably, with the future increasingly belonging to online estate agents. We like HouseSimple, we like its management and we like the idea of saving Britain’s home sellers billions of pounds, with a better experience. HouseSimple has the potential to be one of the industry’s real online winners, and we intend to be a core investor to help it achieve its full potential. That is what our investment today signals.”
Alex Gosling (left), CEO of HouseSimple, added: “Online estate agency is a market whose time has come. People are fed-up with the expense and poor customer service of the High Street agents. We sell more of our properties than High Street agents, we achieve a higher asking price, less of our sales fall through, and we have much higher customer satisfaction ratings. To top it all, we only charge one tenth of the price they do. With Charles’ and Roger’s backing, we can now turn on the growth tap and save our customers an enormous amount of money and hassle.”
Meanwhile, eMoov.co.uk has received a significant boost, securing a £1.5 million financing round led by London venture capital firm Episode 1.
The funding comes amid growing interest in property tech companies among venture capital investors.
Episode 1’s Managing Partner, Simon Murdoch, who was an early backer of numerous success stories including Betfair, LoveFilm and Zoopla, commented, “We love to invest in innovative companies who are obsessed about providing a fantastic service for customers in large markets. In our view, eMoov is just such a company. The company has the team, product and customer-centric approach to win in this exciting sector and we’re really looking forward to being part of that journey.”