The recently launched British challenger portal Boomin is seeking to raise £25m to fuel the aim stated by founder Michael Bruce of becoming "a household name in record time" and take on the incumbents in the property portal market. Among investors said to be taking a stake in the company founded by the entrepreneurs behind Purple Bricks are London-based agency group Foxtons, media company Channel 4 and DM Capital which was an early backer of Purple Bricks.
The round of funding is said to be based on a £100m post-money valuation of the upstart portal and comes as the company reshuffles its leadership to incorporate a big name new hire. Ex-Virgin CEO Stephen Murphy has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman while founder Michael Bruce moves from his position as Executive Chairman to Group CEO with Boomin now seeking out an adequate Managing Director to lead day to day portal operations. The firm had previously hired respected industry figure Gary Barker who ultimately turned the portal down to take up a position at the country's largest agency group Connells.
Speaking on his company's new hire, Michael Bruce said:
"The appointment of Stephen is testament to the level of our ambition for Boomin. He is a seriously big hitter that has unrivalled expertise working with one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time and scaling, challenger brands that aim to reshape markets through technology, innovation and marketing prowess."
For his part, Murphy said:
“I have been really impressed by the DNA of the business and the ambition to deliver truly exceptional experiences for agents and everyone engaged in property. I am excited to be working with the founders and the management team to realise the enormous potential that exists with market-leading agents, truly innovative technology and a collective ambition to make a genuine difference. I will be an active advocate for all of these ambitions as chairman.”
Meanwhile, Rightmove is countering the momentum of agents away from its membership over the past few months by reportedly offering special discounts and rolling contracts for returning agents.
Read last week's Online Marketplaces' deep-dive analysis of Rightmove's business here.
According to reporting from British agency publication The Negotiator, the market-leading property portal has been offering special priced basic listing packages which represent savings of some 15-20% to some agents in London. Among those being tempted back is one agent who was a prominent figure in the SayNoToRightmove campaign which gained momentum during much of 2020.
If the reports are confirmed, a move towards discounts and rolling contracts would be considered by many to be a departure from its usual tactics by Rightmove which earlier this year was said to be raising its prices for agents again in an apparent return to a tried and tested play of boosting profits through ARPA.