Category: Interviews

25 Jan 2016

Interview With GetAgent

GetAgent are a dynamic, new Estate Agent Comparison Site. We interviewed co-founders Rayhan and Colby about their ambitions to help people find the best agent for in their area.

Give us your elevator pitch!

R: GetAgent is the estate agent comparison website. We offer the simplest way for you to choose an agent to sell your home. And the data ensures you get an agent that is proven to sell homes similar to yours for more money.

How did you start Get Agent?

R: GetAgent started with the question: How do you choose an agent? We asked a lot of people, and a pattern emerged with two distinct responses. The first response was people chose an agent that they knew personally. And the second was essentially “eenee meenee minee mo”.

It turns out there was no way to know which agents performed better at selling homes. We want to give control and transparency to those looking to sell their home.

What kind of data do you collect? 

C: Every home that agents market online, alongside the sold prices, size and type of property and what portals are used to advertise homes. That last one is particularly interesting with the coming changes thanks to OnTheMarket.com’s launch on 26th January.

What are your respective professional backgrounds? 

R: The team consists of myself (property domain expertise), Peter Thum-Bonanno (tech – built and sold FindProperly.co.uk), Sebastien Powell (design – Lead Designer at AdBrain) and Colby Short (sales – former Country Manager at SMG sports hospitality).

What are your hopes for the Pi Labs incubation program? 

C: We hope that Pi Labs will be a catalyst for innovation in the field of property technology and want to be the poster-child for Pi Labs, showing that it is possible to build a profitable technology company without being disruptive.

25 Jan 2016

Interview With Bamboo Auctions

This week, we have an interview with Bamboo Auctions- one of our incubation teams. They are a dynamic, new online property auction website launching in Summer 2014. We interviewed the CEO and Founder Robin Rathore about his ambitious new auction site.


How and why did Bamboo auctions come about?

I was in the process of buying a house myself, and was frustrated by the process of attending a property auction. There were cliques of old-timers, the grand hotel it was held in was stuffy, and the whole thing was inefficient. I left my job to shake up the market and create the “eBay for property auctions”; Bamboo Auctions was born!


Walk us through how Bamboo Auctions?

Estate agents list a property on Bamboo auctions for auction sale. Crucially, we work with Estate agents and not in competition with them. The seller sets the parameters in terms of the length of the sale, as well as the minimum price, just like an eBay listing. Buyers bid and exchange happens immediately at the end of the auction period, with a 10% deposit required straight away. This reduces the risk of gazumping, and we make sure that all the legal work is taken care of.


What is your background and how did you come into PropTech?

I’m a qualified corporate solicitor, having specialised largely in private equity and mergers and acquisitions. I worked largely in TMT  and also commercial real estate (you can see how I may have got into property technology!) We’ve come along way in the last 6 months and I’ve been privileged to have met and be advised by some really smart people, in fact, one of our non executive directors is an auctioneer and a past president of the national association of estate agents.


What’s your favourite thing about Pi Labs?

We joined the program about a month ago, and since then support we have received both in terms of infrastructure and mentorship has been hugely beneficial to us, especially ahead of our launch. Being around other dynamic prop tech companies has sparked new ideas that is helping us establish an exciting development strategy for the future of our platform.
We’re huge fans of economies of agglomeration. Pi Labs has created a space that facilitates true disruption in an otherwise traditional market. We’re proud to be part of that.


What’s does the future hold for Bamboo auctions?

Our ultimate aim is to make the property transaction process exciting, uncomplicated and certain. We have completed the build of version 1 of our platform and are currently inviting a limited number of estate agents to our trial period, to enable them to earn their commission faster. We’re aiming for a full launch early next year and have a number of agents signed up already.


The property auction market needs shaking up. We’ve got a really strong team and a seriously good strategy to achieve this. We’ll also be launching a PR campaign very soon, so remember our name and watch this space!

25 Jan 2016

Interview With Funded City

This week, we have an interview with FundedCity- one of our incubation teams. Funded City is a crowdfunding platform focused on London real estate (commercial and residential).

The company initially offers equity release for property developers and construction companies in the form of short fixed term loans. They had some really interesting insights for us. See the interview below:

Funded City manages and lists high-yielding residential and commercial properties for monthly returns, starting from an initial £500. We caught up with co-founder Anthony Sinclair to find out more about their proposition.

What is Funded City?

Funded City is a property crowdfunding site that enables the public to invest in short term, high yield mortgages for as little as £500. We allow property owners to release equity from their property to expand their businesses, when banks don’t allow them to do so.

How does Funded City work and what is the customer journey?

It’s a platform and a market place – the property developer will come to us with a business case, we vet them, providing due diligence, and we offer the property project to the general public. The result is a streamlined process where the customer can pick-and-choose properties and create their own portfolio, and all they need is their bank card.

What has been the Journey to date?

It’s been a two-year journey from 2012. The American Jobs Act was released and we sensed that crowdfunding was becoming the next big thing.  We consulted property experts to decide whether we wanted to focus on equity release, residential buy to let, or long-term loans. After speaking to our head of property, Laurence Bilton, we put together our model to capitalise on the 430bn unencumbered equity market.

What is your favourite thing about Pi Labs?

It’s great being surrounded by people in the same space – you’ll be sitting across the table from someone who has trodden the same path, and may have experienced the same pain points. Coupled with the expertise of the network, Pi Labs provides an environment, which is a privilege and adds value to any business idea.

25 Jan 2016

Interview With Nick And Vasanth From Splittable

We sat down with the Splittable team to talk about their latest product, Splittable, which has aims to be the go-to “no-awkwardness, no-nonsense app for housesharers”.

Co-founders Nick Katz (NK) and Vasanth Subramanian (V) share their insights on the rental market, rifts with housemates, and what they hope to gain from the Pi Labs accelerator!

logo-splittable-full

WHAT IS SPLITTABLE AND HOW DOES IT FUNCTION?

NK: Splittable is a budgeting platform which makes it simple to split bills and other expenses between housemates. It allows you to track one-off and recurring expenses.

V: There are two sides to the Splittable tool. An app, which makes it easy to track the expenses as they occur, and a web platform. On the web platform, users (members of the house) will see an “all-squared meter” which visualises who’s in credit or debt, as well as who has made the most recent payments on a timeline.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO CREATE SPLITTABLE?

NK: For me, it was personal. A few years ago, I shared a flat with my best friend, but things went downhill after I found out he was tracking expenses on a spreadsheet; unbeknownst to me, and I wasn’t. This made me want to create a transparent and centralised platform where housemates can be open about splitting expenses.

V: The subject of money with housemates can sometimes be the elephant in the room, but we wanted to reduce the pain points and make the process fun.

COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE MARKET YOU ARE OPERATING IN? 

NK: Sure. Home ownership decreases year by year, making renting and house-sharing a much more attractive option; economically speaking. This market is ever-growing, but the number of companies supporting them is decreasing. It seems that only when you start looking to buy, is there support and platforms making your life easier.

V: We don’t think this is fair for the majority of people who can’t afford to buy, and wanted to make sure they’re represented too.

HOW DID YOU GATHER INFORMATION IN THE RUN-UP TO CREATING SPLITTABLE?

NK: It started off by establishing a need; we conducted focus groups, sent out surveys and targeted university societies to find out their pain points. Across the board, we noticed the same pattern; from the age you start renting, up until you start looking to buy a place, there are few tools to help you in the house-sharing process.

V: As it gets more expensive to buy, there is an increasing number of people in this space – which will result in a greater need to talk about issues like this. The problem of rifts between housemates is completely solvable given technology, and people were pleased to hear it!

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO GAIN FROM THE BEING INVOLVED WITH PI LABS?

V: We’re really excited to be joining forces with Pi Labs and are excited by the buzz they are creating in the industry! We hope to get the word out and get people as excited as we are about Splittable, and make use of the extensive Pi Labs mentor network. Our priority right now is growth and getting more traction.

NK: Pi Labs seems to be an emerging force to be reckoned with in Property Tech and we are happy to be a part of this burgeoning space!