Boomin, the new challenger portal making waves in the UK property industry, generated a couple of conflicting headlines over the weekend as first national broadcaster Sky News reported that the entity founded by the brothers behind Purple Bricks was seeking tens of millions from institutional investors to take on the big portals. The story has since been amended as Estate Agent Today sought clarification from the company which stated that it has so far been self-sustaining and is not currently looking for outside investors.
The issue of funding is a particularly pertinent one for Boomin. Although would-be investors may well be keen to put money into a venture undertaken by the founders of Purple Bricks, a company which made its early-stage investors very rich, institutional financial backing for Boomin may be seen by agents as either a necessary move to be able to take on Rightmove and Zoopla or as proof that Boomin will be guided by profit-hungry shareholders from the start in much the way Rightmove has been. As we reported last week, some in the industry are citing the level of funding behind Boomin as the reason they believe it will succeed where other portals fail. Certainly, the Bruce brothers will have to tread carefully in an industry in which many still harbour distrust and outright hatred for Purple Bricks.
Those employed at Boomin, who according to the Sky report number around 100 already including 60 in tech positions, are remaining tight-lipped about the nature of the project, having declined to be interviewed by Online Marketplaces. The only clues as to how the project will work have come from the company’s marketing text on its website and a few quotes from former Reapit CEO turned Boomin Chief Executive Gary Barker who said that his company would be “the most agent and customer-centric solution ever created, putting agents at the forefront of determining the future rather than needing to react to it”. One estate agent who has reportedly been given an inside look into the Boomin product is Say No To Rightmove movement leader Rob Sargent who was sufficiently impressed to consider backing it.