A new Manchester-based tech start-up – Housemates – is set to disrupt the UK and international student accommodation market with the launch of its web app – an online student property platform. The launch follows the business securing £100,000 of pre-seed funding from GC Angels to expand its platform across the UK and internationally.
“The student housing market is an area ripe for innovation and disruption. It’s 2020 and expectation when it comes to any online experience is high; we believe students deserve to be able to book accommodation in the same, hassle-free way they do holidays.Lydia Jones, Founder, Housemates
Housemates is an end-to-end platform for students, landlords and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) providers. It promises to bring much-needed transparency, efficiency and reassurance to the sector.
Founded by tech entrepreneur Lydia Jones and backed by an experienced team from DEPT, Spareroom and Starling Bank, Housemates claim their student accommodation marketplace will offer five times faster booking than its rivals. Housemates continues to grow its team, attracting talent from proptech, fintech and agency backgrounds who are now delivering Housemates’ product roadmap.
“The impact of Covid-19 hasn’t slowed our development of the platform, but we have taken into consideration the needs of students travelling from overseas to study in the UK to ensure we cater for changes in post-lockdown booking behaviour.
“Our whole approach and ethos is to build our product in a customer-centric way, and we’re looking to work with more like-minded forward-thinking purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) operators and individual landlords as we expand.”Lydia Jones, Founder, Housemates
The proptech platform is now open for exclusive early access ahead of the 2021/22 academic year and students will be able to make bookings from October this year. It initially caters for student accommodation owners and students studying in Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Edinburgh, London and Melbourne – but has plans to expand across other cities in the UK and internationally.
“Using feedback loops with both students and landlords we’ve identified new ways to deliver a faster, easier and more secure way to book accommodation that meets the needs of all users. As we grow our community across the UK we will continue to innovate based on real-time, evolving feedback and adapt to consumer demand.
“By removing ‘the middleman’ we’ve streamlined the whole operation, taking 100% of the transaction online, and reduced overall costs for all parties.”Lydia Jones, Founder, Housemates
Students can sign up to Housemates for free and see what a property will cost, with no hidden extras. The end-to-end marketplace removes the need for letting agents and the associated fees, providing landlords and tenants with the opportunity to transact totally online. It uses automation to speed up all parts of the booking process, with fast and reliable methods to populate and complete tenancy agreements and make secure transactions.
“It is extremely pleasing to see the impact that our funding has had on the development of a truly disruptive piece of innovation. Lydia and Housemates has enormous potential with this latest development, providing an easy to use solution for students looking for accommodation.
“This is a perfect example of the innovation that Manchester is known for, and we are confident that Lydia will continue to push boundaries in the sector as the company continues to grow.”Jess Jackson, Investment Director, GC Angels