An ambitious PropTech startup has raised £2.8 million to fund its bid to 'reinvent the London renting experience'.
Homie, a search platform for prospective tenants, says it has now raised over £4 million in total.
Renters using the platform are assigned their own 'Homie', a personal home finder who scours the market for suitable properties.
Once the renter's 'Homie' has identified suitable properties, they will take the would-be tenant on a two-hour black cab tour where they could view up to ten potential homes marketed by multiple letting agents.
Homie says one of its unique selling points is that it removes the need for renters to spend 'hours' browsing property portals which, it says, are known for 'clickbait listings'.
It also says it removes the need for tenants to liaise with letting agents as their 'Homie' will look after this aspect of the process.
Homie claims that the average London renter spends up to 20 hours a month researching rental properties and a further five hours attending viewings scattered across the capital.
It says, however, that tenants using the Homie platform can find a home in less than four hours across three days.
The PropTech startup was founded by Alex Eid in 2016. The full Homie service costs tenants a one-off payment of £88, although they can receive a phone consultation and selection of available homes for free on sign-up.
Homie promises to provides tenants that have been vetted in a bid to help agents avoid timewasters and unsuitable customers.
After Homie accompanies a tenant on a tour of prospective properties with multiple agents, it also offers feedback to the property's landlord.
If Homie provides an agent with a pre-qualified, move-ready and acceptable tenant they’ll charge a small fee, but only on success. The platform says it has helped in over 500 tenancy deals to date.
On its website, Homie says it has worked with high-profile agencies such as Knight Frank, Chestertons, Savills, Cluttons and Kinleigh Folkard and Hayward.
“This new investment represents an incredible opportunity for us to further develop our tech platform and team without compromising on any of the personal aspects of Homie that make it so unique," says Eid.
"Our vision has always been to make London’s rental market faster, more transparent and easier to navigate whilst delivering a personal service.”
The funding round was led by Connect Ventures and supported by Seedcamp, Venture Friends and The Family.
"As a Londoner who has been through the process of finding a flat to rent five times in eight years, I know the problem Homie is solving first hand several times over," comments Sitar Teli, managing partner at Connect Ventures.
"Homie is changing the experience end-to-end, using data and software to make the experience significantly more efficient and enjoyable."
*In other fundraising news, short-term rental management startup Hostaway has raised €700,000 to help fund its expansion to allow property managers to manage bookings across several rental platforms from one dashboard.