Who are you and what does it say on your business card?
That's very retro - I have not had one of those for years. If I did it would say Simon Tillyer, as I'm not one for titles. I founded proptech company Vouch alongside my wife Jaime in 2017, to remove the obstacles faced by property specialists and to create new, better ways of doing things.
How has your company had to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic?
Adaptability is key and we’ve been fortunate to have always been ahead of the game. Demand for our services spiked during lockdown, in part due to the government-enforced social distancing measures designed to contain coronavirus. We’ve seen a 78% increase in digital reference volumes compared to last year, on top of a 62% increase in customers overall. We’ve been able to grow our team by 120% since the first lockdown, as demand for effective proptech solutions skyrocketed. The pandemic has accelerated the industry’s much-needed digital transformation.
How is PropTech helping agents to be more efficient?
The pandemic has paved the way for a new era of digital solutions in the property sector, such as virtual viewings, move assistants and refined referencing, resulting in more effective processes that have elevated the sector and pulled it into the 21st century. Digital referencing tools and streamlined move assistant platforms have allowed for the previously mundane and time consuming due diligence to become effort free, replacing old fashioned alternatives.
Why is Sheffield one of the centres of property technology innovation?
It’s the people! I’m proud to retain the fact that we’re staffed entirely by people from Sheffield, where we were founded and remain headquartered today. Aside from setting us apart from others in the proptech industry, our strong roots serve as a perfect example of the innovation coming out of the North and Sheffield is developing a reputation for being a place of real innovative thinking within property tech.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
Growing a team of brilliant people who love what they do. We really care about our work, and it’s wonderful to see this ethos shared across the whole team.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing estate and letting agents at the moment?
Stock! Properties are letting and selling faster than ever before, and I cant see this changing for a while. We need to see some legislation changes to make it attractive for BTL landlords to begin investing again, without them there isn't a market.
What is your property prediction for the remainder of 2021?
Busy, busy, busy! Nothing has been lost by the pandemic, it’s just pent up in the system. With regards to lettings I think the market just needs more stock. Sales wise, house prices are going to continue to rise well into 2022 and possibly beyond.
Country house or city apartment?
City House please!
Trendy roof terrace or traditional English garden?
Roof terrace although I do strangely enjoy mowing the lawn.
Would you rather be a free-moving tenant or settled owner-occupier?
I would love the opportunity to return to a free moving tenant.
What is your favourite room in your home?
Kitchen - life is all about food & drink!
Homes under the Hammer or Location, Location, Location?
Definitely Location, Location, Location!