An online agency that started life with a single-office high street presence in 2009 before shifting its focus to online-only two years later is now seeking £500,000 from members of the public.
I Am The Agent (IATA), which had a high street branch in Greenwich, London, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube offering 3.25% equity to investors, and giving it a valuation of £14.9m.
Its pitch says it has achieved more than 9,800 listings and served more than 150,000 clients since launch.
It currently has 50 listings on Rightmove still for sale, dotted mainly around London, Manchester and Liverpool, while 18 are listed as sold subject to contract.
There are 42 listings for rent, and 27 that are shown as let agreed.
IATA claims to save vendors £5,558 and landlords £1,082 in agency fees.
Its pitch says: “Dissatisfaction with estate and letting agents is high. High fees and low transparency, coupled with poor service, have created an opportunity for technology-enabled new entrants to disrupt the property market.”
Money raised will be used to increase marketing and brand awareness. It cites the Purplebricks stock market listing and Zoopla acquisition of Hometrack as possible exits.
It said: “We will drive sector expansion and consolidation between players in the emerging ‘proptech’ market, or traditional estate agencies.
“We have piqued interest from a number of online and traditional UK agents, including some in the top five.”
The campaign has raised 20% of its target, or £101,240, since launching last week.
Sellers are offered upfront packages from £49 that list only on the IATA website and get mailed out to 70,000 users. Alternatively, there is a service for £399 that includes free photos or an energy performance certificate, a For Sale board and listings on Rightmove and Zoopla for 12 months.
There is also a £750 service that provides additional support with offers, and completion as well as a memorandum of sale.
Landlords can also list from £19 for a basic listing service on the IATA website, £49 to feature on Rightmove and Zoopla and get dedicated support, £99 for a three-month portal listing and To Let board, and finally a £249 package that includes portal listings, credit references and a tenancy agreement.
All services include VAT.
Vendors can pay extra to top up services, such as £130 for accompanied viewings.
Speaking to EYE, IATA’s co-founder Rebecca Peach said the high street branch was set up in 2009 to get an idea of the type of support buyers and landlords needed while the technology was being developed before the latest incarnation launched in 2011.
It is now used as office space or its marketing and technology departments, client support and for local agents.
Peach said the company also has freelance estate agents working across the country.
She said: “We were one of the first 24/7 fully transparent agents and are now giving the public a chance to get involved with the proposition.”