Housr, a student living startup on a mission to tackle the housing crisis, has opened the door to investors for a £5 million growth funding round which will see the PropTech business embark on ambitious expansion plans in the UK and USA.
The scaleup, founded by friends Harry Panter and Ben Clayton while at university, has already raised 30% of the £5m growth round through existing investors and stakeholders, led by venture partner Bachmanity.
The company is welcoming funds on both sides of the Atlantic to join its mission of revolutionising the way properties are listed, let, and managed.
The business, which is forecasted to break-even in July 2024, projects annual recurring revenue of £2.4m over the next 16 months, through brand partnerships and utility billing. It currently has a headcount of 26, with four of those employees based in the USA, including its president Craig Joseph.
Following the latest funding round, Housr plans to expand to six UK cities and seven US cities. It will also increase its headcount to 45 people, with further hires in operations, marketing, and on the campuses it operates in. Housr recently acquired an online student community in Leeds, ahead of its rollout in the northern university city.
Housr started its second year of operations by adding 45,000 properties to its platform, across Manchester and Birmingham, with hundreds of lettings already agreed for the September 2024 academic term.
“We have proved our platform and business model to be the future of student lettings in two of the country’s biggest cities. We’re now ready to disrupt the property market in the rest of the UK,” said CEO Panter.
“Our intuitive and frictionless app streamlines each step of the rental process, from search to management, and utilities. This makes it easy for tenants and agents to manage their home in a single place.”
The app is on track to have 30,000 users by January 2024. Housr currently works with 30 UK-based letting agents, making the rental process easy for tenants and landlords. It is averaging 73 rentals per week through its platform ahead of peak student letting season.
Panter continued: “This additional funding will turbo-charge our progress and help establish Housr as the go-to student housing partner in the UK and the US. While both markets are different it is clear that both are ripe for digital transformation and disruption.
“The latest generation of students demands this level of digitisation from the sector, and until now the archaic industry has been unable to provide it. Our ethos – built by students for students – serves this group. We understand what truly resonates with them. Our introduction of rapid peer-to-peer rentals will change how students find housing, making it cheaper and more efficient for all involved.”
Housr previously raised £1.2m over the past two years to help it reach its current iteration. Funding to date has come from a variety of sources including Bachmanity Capital, and various angels including David Evans, Ian Tyler, Steve Thornhill, Barry Brown, and others. Investment has allowed the business to bring the development of its proprietary technology in-house and launch an updated version of the app.
Housr operates similarly to a dating app letting users swipe through properties and secure viewings, while landlords and letting agents can use it as a management portal. It also uses AI to eliminate the administrative hurdles that typically accompany the process of securing a rental property.
The smartphone app, available on iOS is on track to have 30,000 users by January 2024, and sees 1,000 student likes per day, an average of 12 per student per session. The startup has developed a loyal community of students who are rewarded with perks including money off their rent, a year’s supply of free pizza, and offers on drinks through its commercial brand partners.