Barclays awards two online lettings ‘disruptors’ with start-up gongs

Both James Davis of Upad and Midlands firm brightLET are lauded by bank in its annual awards.

entrepreneur of the yearTwo property firms are winners within this year’s Barclays Entrepreneur Awards including Upad founder and landlord James Davis (pictured, right), who was named Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year for the London region, and proptech firm brightLET, which during an earlier heat won Best Innovative Start-Up for the Midlands.

The Upad award somewhat stretches the definition of a start-up business – Upad Ltd was incorporated in April 2008 – but a spokesperson told The Negotiator that the gong was awarded by the award’s panel of judges for its high-growth credentials instead. The judges included Cambridge Judge Business School, The Sunday Times, investment firm MMC Ventures and Barclays.

The bank said James received the award because he had been the “driving force behind Upad’s phenomenal growth over the last two years”, commending him on the way he had “identified, and capitalised upon, a market opportunity”.

“From day one, Upad was intended as a disruptor within the residential lettings market,” James said after the ceremony.

“As a landlord myself I had witnessed how fragmented the market had become and felt sure that there was scope for significant improvement.

“Upad was, therefore, born out of a belief that innovative and bespoke technology could more effectively deliver the services and products which had previously only been available via traditional high-street letting agents – and importantly, at a fraction of the cost.

“It is, therefore, fantastic to be recognised in this way, alongside other entrepreneurs shaking up the sectors in which they operate.”

North London-based Upad was founded in 2007 and says that last year it helped rent 10,000 properties and that it has 12,000 landlords on its books.

Ahmed Ahmed, Relationship Manager, High Growth and Entrepreneurs Team at Barclays, says: “Selecting only a small number of regional winners from hundreds of entries is a huge undertaking and each of them play a vital role in adding value to the economy by creating employment and generating wealth.

“Barclays is proud to support businesses such as this and to be the banking partner to some of the most innovative businesses in the UK.”

The second winner, brightLET, was founded last year by businessman Camran Khan (pictured, left), and is a cloud-based property management and lettings solution for landlords who choose to manage their rental properties and tenancies online, directly with their tenants and tradespeople, cutting out agents.

Read James’s blog on online agents.

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