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Michael Savva is the founder of Findingaplace, a smarter way for applicants to find their next rental home in London, for free!
The former Carphone Warehouse director realised that renters were facing many challenges when it came to finding the perfect rental. Whether it was the time it’d take or the disappointment faced by inaccurate information, nobody had created a solution to these problems yet.
Findingaplace would also be a solution to agencies. It quickly pairs them with vetted tenants so they can focus on what they do best.
We’ve sat down with Michael to learn about his journey so far and motivations behind Findingaplace.
UK renters face many challenges when looking for a new place to live. Are you able to tell us about some of those challenges?
Findingaplace exists to overcome the many challenges faced when searching for a new rental home. We are here to save tenants time and reduce both their stress & disappointment. Research shows tenants spend over 20 hours searching through property portals such as Rightmove & Zoopla.
The next challenge is contacting agents who represent the properties they would like to learn more about or view. 50% of tenants say the property they called to enquire about was no longer available. 40% never even received a reply at all! It’s no surprise that two thirds of tenants feel unhappy with the overall rental experience. That’s what we are here to change.
What is Findingaplace and how are you disrupting the rental search experience?
We disrupt the property search experience by turning the whole process upside down. An enquiry with Findingaplace is completely free of charge and takes less than 2 minutes. We put the tenant at the forefront NOT the property. This prevents tenants from needing to search at all. We facilitate only suitable and available properties to be shared with the searching tenant directly.
Our SaaS platform validates the tenant’s enquiry and passes the information to local agents. The agent then searches for a suitable property that meets the needs of the tenant and contacts them back directly. This reduces tenant exposure to old listings and enables them access to properties that are yet to be advertised. Finally we have some clever tech that protects the tenants phone-number too. We have privacy wrapped up for tenants who require it.
How does your solution benefit Agencies?
Our network of 200+ agents benefit by understanding the tenants requirements up-front. We save the agents the many hours they would otherwise spend vetting to ensure they are suitable.
We introduce the tenant along with their detailed search requirements, whether they have pets or need a gym, to be close to a tube station, a moving date – the list goes on and is personalised for each tenant!
Finally we share a financial summary so are validating their affordability or situation quickly and concisely. This gives the agents time to focus on what matters – finding a property for the tenants that ticks all their boxes.
Tell us about your business model and how Findingaplace generates revenue?
Findingaplace generates revenue by charging the agent a monthly fee to have access to our platform of pre-vetted tenants in the areas they serve and customised to the property types, budgets and criteria they define. Our pricing structure allows a single let to cover the cost of our service to them for an entire year on average – despite sending many hundreds of enquiries over the same period – so it really is a win/win partnership.
There are alternative revenue streams that lie within our future plans including both tenant and agent services – for example connecting a tenant who used our service to discounted perks such as removals, energy or a gym membership to name but a few.
With massive growth in the rental sector now 1 in 4 are renting, 5.4m private rented properties and over 22,000 agencies in the UK alone (let alone our International ambitions), we have access to a huge serviceable and obtainable market that exceeds £100bn.
What do you plan to do with the capital raised in your current crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs?
The crowdfund campaign capital will support the following areas:
- Customer acquisition – Grow our proven marketing strategy to increase awareness and exposure in the property market, bringing our concept to more tenants who deserve better. In turn, this supports our growth ambitions.
- Team expansion – To keep up with demand and successfully induct many more new agency partners, support our tenant applicants as well as introduce business development to unlock partnerships given our unique position.
- Technology and platform development – We have an aggressive roadmap for launching new market-leading features which include updates on both tenant and agent sides of our platform. These will improve levels of automation, enable further App development and provide technology preparations for significant scaling.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Getting the platform built in less than 18 months then watching so many tenants and agents use our service has been humbling and incredible. Being able to help so many people across all walks of life and situations is an ethical responsibility we don’t take lightly either.
But to answer the question.. I think our biggest achievement to date is that we have never received anything other than a 5 star review from both our tenant or agent users. That truly makes us feel we have achieved something fantastic!
You’ve had over 15,000 tenant registrations since Spring 2021 – amazing! What are some of the company’s goals for 2022?
2022 is a huge year for us! We move into our new office in mid-Jan and can finally bring the team together which is something we are all excited about.
Our ambitions for 2022 are all about growth and sustainability. Grow the team and tech to support the scaling of our business to bring what we do to MORE tenants and MORE agents (with an eye on our next international market that we won’t reveal just yet)…!
What do you love to do in your free time?
I don’t get that much free time anymore as I am sure any founder will tell you! But I love spending time with my friends and family outdoors when I do. A cycle, a run, even turning things on the BBQ!
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what do you think you would be doing?
As an ex-director with a background running large corporate supply chain’s from the likes of Dixons and The Carphone Warehouse (which I left to pursue this dream), I imagine I would remain buried under finance and corporate governance spreadsheets which luckily are a transferable skill for this business!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far scaling a subscription based model?
The lessons are plentiful and the largest for me is to be dynamic and agile, adjusting to the needs of both our tenant (B2C) and agent (B2B) partners. That and building (and appreciating) the fantastic team and support network with advisors and investors alike I have surrounding and supporting the business as we look to scale.
Findingaplace has found a gap in a market where they’re clearly doing magnificent work. To help them get to that next level, visit the pitch here.
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