HouseSimple.com, the UK’s second largest online estate agency, has secured £20 million in growth capital as part of its goal to “challenge Purplebricks as the UK’s leading online estate agency”.
The funding round was led by existing investors Toscafund Asset Management and Freston Ventures, the private investment vehicle of Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone and his business partner Roger Taylor.
Several high net worth individuals also participated.
HouseSimple has listed more properties than any other online estate agent this year, except Purplebricks.
It said it was committed to its “technology and data-led approach” to enhance the home seller experience and to using market intelligence and analytics to “ensure the best end-result for customers”.
It claimed this approach enabled it to consistently outperform high street agents in terms of sale price achieved.
HouseSimple has invested heavily in technology over the past year, building a 30-strong technology team of data analysts, developers, UX and design specialists.
It claimed it differentiates itself from other online models by focusing on performance through a self-learning technology platform that ultimately means it promotes the best performing local agent in its network to sell a property.
The latest investment will enable HouseSimple to continue to invest in developing this platform.
HouseSimple said it has saved its average home seller over £4,000 in fees.
Currently, it offers consumers an upfront fixed fee option starting from £695, and a no sale, no fee option priced at £1,495.
Alex Gosling (main picture), co-founder and chief executive of HouseSimple.com, said: “This latest funding is not just about capital and marketing investment, it is also sending a clear message of intent from our investors.
“As we move into new, larger offices in Colchester, it will help us continue rapid expansion and make 2018 our best year ever. We are focusing on our performance-driven, cost-effective and scalable online model. Whatever we do, our priority will always be on delivering the best results for our customers.”
HouseSimple has sold £1 billion worth of properties in the last 12 months.
It provides a full estate and letting agency service from valuation guidance, professional photography and floor plans, hosted viewings, negotiation and full management of the sale or rental, through to completion.
DealMakerz thinks the latest funding could give HouseSimple a real edge over smaller rivals who can’t compete with its spending power.
We could even see some consolidation in the market in 2018.
There is a plethora of small online agents in the industry, including Settled, MyOnlineEstateAgent, TurtleHomes, Hatched, Door Step Agents, We Are Pad, SellMyHome, YOPA, Urban, Gordon’s, EstatesDirect, Upad, MovUno and Sell We Online.
Mergers and acquisitions could create a real contender to the hugely successful Purplebricks, which recently claimed it has scooped up an impressive 74% of the UK online market thanks to its hybrid model that combines local property experts with a lack of physical branches.