Online estate agent HouseSimple has raised the stakes in the UK portal market having received a £13m investment from Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone and his business partner Roger Taylor.
The funding round was organised by Lepe Partners, a merchant banking boutique.
According to a report from UK newspaper The Telegraph, Sir Charles believes it is “only a matter of time” before HouseSimple takes over as the UK’s leading online estate agency service.
The Telegraph says HouseSimple is aiming to challenge its rival PurpleBricks and hopes to continue the “substantial growth” it has enjoyed over the past 12 months.
In this time, the site has trebled its property listings and established itself as the second-largest player in the burgeoning online estate agency market.
It offers to sell or rent homes for either a £395 fixed fee or an optional £895 “no sale, no fee” and claims to have saved UK homeowners £5,594 on average per house sale.
HouseSimple was voted online estate agency of the year at the 2014 and 2015 Negotiator Awards.
Chief executive Alex Gosling says the £13m investment marked an “exciting” time for the company.
“We are relentlessly focused on delivering the best selling results for our customers, and with this latest funding round we are confident we can increase our selling success rate and achieved selling price even further,” he says.
Gosling says the money will go towards increasing the company’s market share in the online estate agency sector.
The Telegraph says as HouseSimple’s biggest competitor, listed player PurpleBricks commands a 60 per cent share of the online market and is now the UK’s fourth-largest estate agent.
Meanwhile, Skynews asserts HouseSimple’s latest fundraising is understood to have valued the business at around £40m, a fraction of the £312m market capitalisation of Purplebricks.
The company also faces competition from digital property start-up Yopa, which last week received £16m of funding in a move led by upmarket estate agent Savills.
Currently, around 5 per cent of homes are sold online, but that figure is forecast to rise to 50 per cent by 2020 as consumers turn away from estate agents and move online, the Telegraph report predicts.
Sir Charles asserts HouseSimple delivers a “fundamentally better” service to its customers.
“Our homes are our most valued assets, and HouseSimple delivers a fundamentally better service at a fraction of the cost,” he says
“It is only a matter of time before everyone realises HouseSimple’s data-led approach can help them sell their homes for more, with less hassle.”
The Telegraph report adds Sir Charles’ investment follows his backing of America’s fastest-growing restaurant chain, MOD Pizza, which has opened its first outlet in Leeds.
He was also heavily involved in the introduction of American burger chain Five Guys to the UK, which now has almost 50 sites.