The boss of a property technology company said he was motivated to launch a crowdfunding round after turning down “awful” investment offers from venture capitalists and angel investors.
BrightLET is an innovative cloud-based property management and lettings platform which uses automation and bots to help landlords manage their own properties online.
Launched in 2016, the Birmingham-based company already has more than 700 landlords and over 1,100 tenants registered to use the platform.
BrightLET has launched a campaign on crowdfunding website Seedrs hoping to attract at least £100,000 from public investors – and has already exceeded more than 50 per cent of its target within just days of going live.
Founder and CEO Camran Khan admits the due diligence process, which lasted four months, was “brutal” but says he was inspired to go down the crowdfunding route after turning down previous offers.
“We’ve had some really ridiculous offers – the terms were just awful,” he told BusinessCloud. “Especially ones from local angel investors – they just don’t get technology at all.”
The outspoken entrepreneur has a 15-year background in marketing and technology, and previously worked closely with high-profile clients like Microsoft, EA Games and Virgin Media, advising them on how they could use technology to automate day-to-day processes.
He had the idea for brightLET after his father suffered a heart attack and he was left managing a small portfolio of rental properties while juggling a full-time job in London.
Khan decided to appoint an agent to help but quickly realised that he was still having to respond to several queries a day during work hours. He set out to create a platform that could allow landlords to manage all aspects of a tenancy remotely.
“We’re the world’s first automated property management solution for landlords and tenants,” he said.
“A lot of what the platform does is automated and that’s the direction we’re going in. We’re also working on some AI technology.”
Khan admits he struggled to find backers that would invest in the business at a valuation which he considered fair and says many UK investors are particularly risk averse when it comes to technology start-ups.
“This is a major issue here,” he said. “VCs and angel investors here really need to up their game in terms of technology knowledge.
“There are certain areas of London where you’ll find investors that do understand technology, but investors locally and across the UK are really outdated with their technology knowledge.
“I’ve talked to so many tech entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley who say if you’ve got a really good idea and a vision for your business then investors will back you.
“They don’t back you because they want to be squatters in your business, they do it because they see a talent and they want to take a risk and invest in you. It’s completely different here.”
Khan says he plans to use the proceeds of the crowdfunding round on Seedrs to add additional features to the platform, grow the team and invest in marketing.
He also outlined his own personal ambitions to set up a community network and fund that would support and invest in other tech entrepreneurs across the UK.
“I want to support them because I’ve gone through that journey and I know what struggles they’re going through,” he said.
“I’ve seen close friends struggle because they’re are really [technologically] talented and have got some fantastic ideas struggle but they’re not good at running businesses and all they needed was guidance from a seasoned investor.”
At the time of publishing, brightLET had raised 52 per cent of its target.