A property portal which is launching tenants’ ‘Passports’ has gone over-target in its latest crowdfunding – and announced its ambitions to launch a listings-driven property portal that would offer competition to the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla.
By yesterday evening, Movem had raised £327,170 from almost 300 investors. Its initial target was £300,000 at a pre-money valuation of £2.4m.
With a fortnight to go, the start-up is now ambitiously over-funding to try and reach £600,000.
Last September Movem raised £200,000 in an earlier funding round on Crowdcube.
Movem Passports are designed to be an alternative for traditional referencing. Tenants can create their profiles, review their experiences – of agents, landlords and properties – and build up a rental profile, which includes recommendations and a more traditional tenant reference. The business model has been largely spurred on by the impending ban on fees charged to tenants.
It is free for tenants, but agents and landlords pay a fee to download a PDF of the tenant’s reference. They will be able to view a summary of the reference for free, which Movem believes will mean that nobody ever pays for a failed reference again.
Movem claims that agencies using it to reference their tenants will save on average 14 days during the application process as the referencing is instant, and significantly reduce their referencing costs.
It also claims that over 200 letting agencies and landlords have pre-registered with Movem, including large agency chains and smaller independent agencies, spread around the UK.
Movem currently hosts reviews in over 550 towns and cities, having grown from just 90 at the time of their last crowdfunding round.
Peter Ramsey, the founder of Movem, has told EYE that he believes Movem will be generating revenue by the end of this year.
He also disclosed details of the longer-term strategy. As well as the Passports and referencing, agents and landlords will be able to opt to pay a monthly fee to list their properties on the site.
Ramsey told EYE: “I don’t believe that anybody loves Rightmove, Zoopla or OnTheMarket. They really have no distinguishable features. These portals are so competitive on having all the stock that there is a leniency to false, expired or duplicate listings, as it boosts their total stock count.
“Not only is this terrible for user experience, but it makes it difficult for these companies to pivot quickly, and in particular none of the above will launch a truly transparent reviewing system, for fear of agencies leaving.”
Movem also disclosed plans to let landlords list directly on the site without the need of an agent, although he could not confirm a launch date for this feature.
“Currently we’re really focused on making the best referencing system out there, and I think we’re really close. Landlord accounts will come, though, and our waiting list is growing.”
A more immediate feature that Movem will launch, having previously not disclosed, is its ‘verified reviews’.
“Passport allows us to verify tenancies and prove that tenants lived in a certain property. This allows us to actually create ‘verified reviews’, something which this industry massively lacks. Even Google can’t do that,” said Ramsey.
It’s not just Movem crowdfunding right now. Simultaneously the online agency ‘I Am The Agent’ is also raising on Crowdcube. With seven days left to hit its £500,000 target, by yesterday it had raised £120,430 from 60 investors.
Their pitch says that UK online agents are set to have 60-70% of market share by 2020.