#StartupSpotlight: Purplebricks is redefining how estate agencies work
Michael Bruce, CEO and founding partner of disruptive hybrid estate agency Purplebricks, spoke with LSBF in the latest edition of Startup Spotlight.
Purplebricks.com is a disruptive hybrid estate agency model - we combine the expertise of a Local Property Expert with a unique online platform, giving customers a 24/7 service at a fraction of the cost charged by high street estate agencies.
Purplebricks is expanding rapidly – we are the fastest growing estate agency in the UK and the largest agency online, according to latest Rightmove figures, despite only operating in 50 per cent of the country thus far. A London marketing launch has been pencilled in for 1 May, which will see us operating nationally and offering our service to the entire country, using the model that has proven so successful so far.
In less than a year of commencing operations, Purplebricks has saved customers £6.6 million in estate agency fees and sold over 2,000 properties, 98% of which have sold for the asking price or more. We’ve made the process of buying, selling and renting your home simple and fully geared towards the customer.
How did it all begin?
In my previous role, I was the CEO, and later Chairman, of one of the largest independent estate agency businesses in the UK. I was constantly looking at ways in which we could add real value for our customers. High street estate agencies were not fully embracing the internet and technology because to do so would have a dramatic impact on the very foundation of their business, resulting in a substantial reduction in fees and no need for high street premises that are rarely if ever visited these days.
Making the process more convenient, transparent, cost effective and controlled less tightly by the estate agent would break the model. My brother Kenny and I founded Purplebricks in April last year with the aim of being at the forefront of a change in direction – one that is in the best interests of the customer and not in the best interests of a commission, and where the experience is positive and stress free.
And the financing?
We have received significant investment from a number of noteworthy business leaders to develop and grow the business. Neil Woodford, founder of Woodford Investment Management, invested £7m in August 2014 and ex-Capita Chief Executive Paul Pindar has also contributed heavily, alongside DN Capital, the global venture capital firm.
What’s next for Purplebricks?
We are expanding rapidly - we are buying key strategic businesses in the sector and we are developing the next stage of our platform that will make the whole process of moving house even simpler. We are working on disrupting other areas of the property industry and we have a desire to be one of the largest transactional estate agency businesses in the UK.
Startup Spotlight is a weekly column where LSBF speaks with the leaders of young start-ups and businesses with a view to inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs. If you’d like your company to be featured here, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org