[caption id="attachment_55738" align="alignleft" width="473"] Co-founders of Settled.co.uk Gemma and Paul Young[/caption]
Thomas Teichman, Chairman of Spark Ventures and co-founder of brand incubator ‘The Garage Soho’, has backed property technology start-up Settled, an online platform that directly connects buyers and sellers
One of the UK's most successful technology start-up investors, Teichman was the first to back lastminute.com, notonthehighstreet.com and made.com.
This is not Teichman's first expression of support for the real estate platform, with The Garage Soho adding it to its portfolio with an investment in 2015 at the time of the company's launch.
Settled, which says it has now facilitated the sales of £38 million worth of homes, is beginning its next funding round targeting an additional £1 million of investment.
Capital raised will be largely used to scale awareness of the platform with consumers and to continue further technological advances that will improve property transactions across the market.
Settled was founded by sibling entrepreneurs Gemma and Paul Young, both of whom come from technology and property backgrounds, on the premise that it would "remove the need for an estate agent entirely".
A suite of services including floorplans and mortgage advice cost Settled users £299 if they pay up front, or £399 if they choose to defer payment until after their property is sold.
According to early site data, the model reduces fall through rates to just 1 in 15 compared with a UK average of 1 in 3 and reduces the time from listing to completion by 50 per cent.
Further, recent research commissioned by Settled indicates that actually consumers don't want a middleman, but rather, a more open, simple process they can control and understand.
Of the 1,000 homeowners surveyed 58 per cent believe they could do a better job at many of the tasks they have traditionally paid estate agents to do.
Teichman says online agents launched with a big fanfare and many have referred to their high street peers as dinosaurs of the property world.
"Really though, online agents are effectively replicating bricks and mortar business models, they just happen to be doing it with a website and a lower price tag,” Teichman says.
It was Teichman's own personal experience which led to his support for Settled.
“When I tried to sell my own house through a hybrid agency I was very excited at the prospect of a new way and thought this was the future of property," he says.
"Sadly I was bitterly disappointed. The experience was vastly similar to the high street, my property was overvalued making it unattractive to potential buyers and I felt like I didn’t know what was going on during the process.
"When I found Settled, from start to finish I felt in control; they helped me get the most from things...and this obviously fueled my decision to become an investor.”
Gemma, who is also Settled's CEO was previously at Google where she was a Country Marketing Head.
“Ask anyone who’s bought or sold a home if they enjoyed it and sadly the answer is often no," she says.
"Yet we continue to pay through the nose on agent fees, we wait an average of 3 months for legal processes and we get a bit baffled by mortgage paperwork. With Settled we wanted to address all these problems head on to positively change the model.”
Gemma says the secret to Settled’s model is its focus on the technology that will empower the homeowner and buyer.
"Settled’s model offers a seamless and more scalable alternative," she says.
"It’s important to place the people who care the most (sellers and buyers) at the centre of the journey.
"Settled’s team and the tools we’ve created provide around the clock support, empowering individuals within a process that’s historically been characterised by middlemen, and breaks in communication.
"Settled does the opposite of traditional or hybrid models, encouraging real connections between buyers and sellers and addressing the complete end-to-end journey - it’s because of this that things happen much more smoothly.”
Teichman’s co-founder at The Garage Soho, Sir John Hegarty, adds the breakthrough in the property sector has to be giving the seller and the buyer the tools to take more control of the process.
"Settled excited us because of their knowledge and investment into technology to make sure that this happens,” Hegarty says.