Online estate agent EstatesDirect has gone back for a second round of crowdfunding, aiming to raise £1.25m.
Last year it raised £660,000 in just ten days using the same platform, Crowdcube, smashing through its initial target of £250,000.
With 41 days to go in its current fund-raising campaign, the business – headed by ex-Poundland founder Steve Smith as chairman – by yesterday afternoon had raised £886,730. A total of 144 investors have so far chipped in, with one investing £150,000.
Reaching target will earn the investors a 5% equity stake in the company which says that in February it achieved a record performance, breaking its target for instructions by 43%.
Yesterday, EstatesDirect had 150 properties available for sale and 17 for rent across the country.
Among the homes for sale is Smith’s own house, now listed at £5.7m – reduced from the £6.5m price when the property originally went on the market in November.
EstatesDirect is planning to use its new funding for expansion of its offering.
It began this year with 25 staff, but over the next three years plans to recruit a further 80, resulting in the establishment of 100 territories across the UK.
All will complete a training programme said to be created by three specialists in estate agency, technology and franchising.
Smith said: “EstatesDirect.com especially appealed to me because it is not just another online estate agency.
“We have a number of franchised businesses, licensees and employed local agents, who provide the expertise and personalised service of a high street estate agent, which we know is still very important to customers when buying, selling or letting their property.”
EstatesDirect is not the only property business to utilise crowdfunding.
Currently on Crowdcube is Letting Supermarket, which plans to raise £250,000, and Property TV, which will create a television channel solely devoted to property and which has passed its target of £200,000.
Last year, easyProperty, before it had even launched, sailed through its own target of £1m on Crowdcube, raising £1.4m from 392 investors.