PropTech start-up Nested is on track to make a £10 million turnover this year, just two years after being launched by property entrepreneur Matt Robinson.
The agency-cum-lender, whose turnover totalled £3 million in 2017, gives people the funds to buy a house while also getting them the best price for their current home.
“Last year 61% of London properties were withdrawn from the market because agents consistently failed to deliver what they had promised,” Robinson told the Evening Standard.
The 30-year-old, who is also the co-founder of online payments group GoCardless, reckons Nested can help to improve the estate agent industry’s reputation.
The firm has caught the attention of investors such as tech specialist Passion Capital.
Nested handles the valuation, marketing and sale of a property. It also gives the vendor 93% to 97% of the market value of their home upfront to put towards buying a new home prior to their old one selling.
When a sale completes, Nested takes back what it advanced plus fees of between 2% and 3.5%.
“Instead of being stuck on the market for months you can go with Nested and be ready to pounce on your dream home whenever you are ready,” Robinson explained.
The entrepreneur met his future business partner Hiroki Takeuchi on a graduate scheme at consulting giant McKinsey.
The colleagues founded GoCardless in 2011 along with Tom Blomfield, who later founded Monzo. Today the business is valued “in the hundreds of millions”, Robinson said.
“There were a handful of moments where it was the toss of a coin whether we would have survived, but our luck held and the company has gone from strength to strength.”
The entrepreneur remains on the board of GoCardless and is a shareholder, but stepped away from running it in 2016.
“I loved the business but wanted something different. So I sold part of my stake, making sure I had enough money to buy a nice house and invest in something new,” he told the Standard.
It was the purchase of his Herne Hill house around that time that inspired him to launch Nested. Since then, Nested has sold more than 200 homes.
There is always the risk a property won’t sell. If it sells for less than Nested advanced to a customer, the firm takes the loss itself.
But the potential risks are not enough to deter the firm from expanding. Nested expects to open its first UK offices outside London before the end of this year.
Robinson told the Standard an IPO is not out of the question, adding: “I want to be in this business for the long haul. I want us to build a trusted consumer brand that reinvents estate agency.”
DealMakerz isn’t surprised Nested is proving popular, as long chains are one of the biggest bugbears of moving home. Nested’s USP is to offer a chain-free process by offering a guaranteed sale price from day one.
Improving the reputation of the estate agency industry is no easy task, but we welcome anyone who is prepared to give it a go.