A proptech start-up called OneDome that offers agents the tools to book viewings online has won over £3 million in funding from several backers including Sir Nigel Knowles, the founder of legal firm DLA Piper.
The company has also persuaded one of Knight Frank’s senior people to jump ship. Rachel Dipper, who until June was Head of Residential Marketing at Knight Frank, is now heading up OneDome’s promotional effort as Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships.
The company also has a former Skype employee leading its technology build and one of its co-founders is former JP Morgan executive, Babek Ismayil (both pictured front row, above).
“We offer agents the ability to take on the online disrupters and offer online bookings, without having to partner with another brand,” says Rachel (pictured, left).
The company, which has been going about a year and has 12 staff in London and a further 40 in Ukraine, has signed up Essex agent Yaxley Homes to its service and says it has a further 15 agents getting ready to join as well.
OneDome offers a platform that enables agents to drive sales and vendor enquiries to their own website, earn referral fees for conveyancing and mortgage enquiries, and enable buyers to manage their own viewings, should they wish to.
“Most of the agents we’re talking to are interested in the bookings widget but we offer so much more than that,” says Rachel.
“Ultimately, we aim to monetise the entire process for the agent, and make the experience seamless for their customers – from arranging viewings to organising conveyancing and a mortgage. Buyers that come to our site can also find out about the area they are looking to buy in and interact with our local area scoring system.”
OneDome claims it gives agents like this the ability to ‘plug and play’ the latest technology in a way that their in-house teams would struggle to keep up with.
“Even big agents like Knight Frank are struggling to keep up with the digital changes that are taking place within the industry,” she says.
“The beauty of plug-and-play is that smaller agents can just plug the latest technology into their website – and if they think one of our competitors is offering something better in a year’s time then that’s fine – we work on a rolling monthly contract, but obviously we believe OneDome offers the best technology available at the moment,” says Rachel.
“It is a scary time for agents – in a few short years we’ve gone from some agents relying entirely on adverts in Country Life magazine and local press for their leads to suddenly people booking viewings online.
“Agents want to retain the business model they have always had and plug-in tools like ours enable them to do that, whereas with a model like the easyProperty/Guild one you’re diluting your brand.”