Online lettings platform Howsy has bought former rival Upad out of liquidation for an undisclosed sum and will run the business separately, The Negotiator can reveal, hot on the heels of its Urban.co.uk acquisition in September when it also announced a further £5 million fundraise.
Upad went into liquidation in mid-October after founder James Davis said ill health had led him to discontinue the business.
Howsy CEO Calum Brannan (pictured, above) says Davis has been ‘extremely helpful’ during the process, and that the purchase includes the brand name, technology, landlord client list and website.
Brannan has also revealed that, although all Upad’s staff were made redundant in October, Howsy has tracked many of them down and a number have now re-joined the business.
“They were key to building the Upad brand, we are keen to ensure that they are part of the next stage of the business,” he says.
“We’re going to revive the brand name and build upon it, making sure that we learn from all of the great work that has gone into building such a well-known and respected name.
“Upad’s technology delivers some fantastic solutions, and their loyal customer base represents a cross-section of UK landlords who we hope we can continue to deliver a great service.”
Brannan says Upad will be operated as an independent but complementary brand and that “different landlords have very different needs, and we are keen to ensure that we cater for all those needs”, he says.
“Over time, as the brands develop and we gather more feedback from customers, we may decide to integrate the organisations a little more, but there is certainly no rush.”
Howsy and Upad are similar, but different businesses. Howsy runs a three-tier fee structure that includes tenant finding and on-boarding, property management and a premium service.
Upad’s service offers is largely a tenant finding service, with rent collection as a bolt-on, but does not include traditional property management. Howsy says it will be contacting all former Upad customers over the next few days and that for many of them it will be ‘business and usual”.