A new fundraising round by Viewber, the outsourced property viewings service, has been over-subscribed with pre-registration interest inside a single weekend.
The 3,000-plus freelance Viewbers who show people around homes for sale and rent were among those invited to take part in the crowdfunding, as well as customers such as estate agents and developers. All were invited to participate at up to £100,000 each.
EYE spoke exclusively with high-profile co-founder Ed Mead who yesterday said that “take-up immediately reached capacity at pre-registration with individual Viewbers and customers offering to invest amounts ranging from £100 to £100,000”.
The bulk of this third funding round has already been taken up by existing Viewber investors, including industry luminaries Peter Rollings and Bob Scarff – with Mead stating: “So we won’t need to go to any private equity or venture capital houses.”
He went on to say that the resultant amount raised from the ‘crowd’ could be “a little bit less, could be a little bit more” than 10% of the total fund-raise.
Mead was tight-lipped on the amount to be raised, with the round closing in February. However, on the figures given, the sum could perhaps be easily into seven figures, and possibly more.
Mead and his co-founder Marcus de Ferranti say the money raised will be spent on “major IT upgrades, increased marketing, enhanced service support and corporate infrastructure”.
They went on to say that Viewber has “outperformed all expectations at this stage and its range of services now includes many over and above viewings and inspections, including basic photography, waiting in, key safe fitting and even document signing”.
This latest fund-raise was first announced in an email to Viewbers seen by EYE on Friday, entitled ‘Crowd Funding offer to Viewbers’.
It says: “As a Viewber you will already be aware of the company’s progress in bringing the power of the sharing economy to property viewings.
“The existing investors are now putting more money into Viewber and we are inviting you to co-invest in the funding round at the same price as those investors.
“The money will be used to accelerate the growth achieved to date with additional marketing, major IT upgrades and additional front line support for Viewbers and customers alike.
“Please let us know if you are interested by pre-registering here viewber.co.uk/investments.”
The same invitation for Viewbers to take part in the fund raising round also says that an “impressive’ number of new agents – both high street and online – have signed up for the service.
Mead and de Ferranti also say there is interest from asset managers and auction houses – “So 2018 looks like it could get busy”.
Viewbers are generally paid £20 plus travel expenses per viewing.
Mead, who is still a director of London agency Douglas & Gordon where he worked for some 20 years, and who is also a director of Agents’ Mutual plus on the board of the Property Ombudsman, launched Viewber in 2016 with digital entrepreneur de Ferranti.
Last autumn they claimed to have over 500 registered clients. Peter Rollings, former boss of Marsh & Parsons, became an investor just over a year ago.