Movem was yesterday acquired by Barbon Insurance Group, owners of Homelet and Rentshield Direct.
Led by student let reviews pioneer Peter Ramsey, Movem will continue to operate as a stand-alone business, offering a tenant referencing platform and tenants’ passports.
While the amount paid for Movem was undisclosed, sources say it was several million pounds.
The business was started when Ramsey was still a university student. Likeable and immensely talented, he dropped out when he saw the business potential, and is still only in his early twenties.
In an increasingly competitive referencing market, Movem was quick to use data and recent ‘open banking’ access to pioneer the Movem Passport (https://vimeo.com/238914873).
It means that personal online banking data can be used to validate tenants’ financial means and payments histories.
Founded in June 2013 as the ‘Tripadvisor for tenants’, Movem spent a year expanding to 20 universities across the UK before raising £740,000 to grow the reviews site to cover 500 towns and cities.
More recently Ramsey has focused Movem’s efforts on referencing, culminating in the release of the Movem Passport and an instant reference service earlier this year.
In a blog post, Ramsey thanked the 520 crowd investors in the business for their “belief when we couldn’t raise money anywhere else”.
He confirms in the post that the team will stay together at their base in Brighton.
Martin Totty, chief executive of Barbon Insurance Group, commenting on the acquisition, said they were drawn to Movem improving fraud detection as it is “sadly a growing problem for us all”, adding: “Under Barbon’s ownership we can support Peter and his business to take Movem to the next stage.”
Totty said: “The lettings sector is seeing considerable innovation with new technologies and new concepts presented on a regular basis.
“At times this must appear bewildering to letting agents having to sift through the myriad of pitches and presentations and needing to decide where, if anywhere, to place their bets.
“Innovative start-ups with savvy technology capable of further development are now present in many sectors.
“Prospective customers will want assurances around long-term access to capital and risk management expertise, especially in regulated markets, before fully committing to new ventures and adapting their own processes.
“As part of the Barbon Group, alongside our HomeLet brand, Movem now has that long-term security.”