Proptech company The Urban Collective has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to raise funds for an AI property ‘concierge’ to help its goal of improving the market for ‘forever renters’.
To improve the experience for renters, The Urban Collective has created a personalised lifestyle-focused search app and one-to-one ‘Sherpa’ service to make finding the perfect home four times faster – cutting the time it takes from 40 or more hours to just 10.
Funds raised through the campaign will go to enhancing the experience for The Urban Collective users by introducing an AI ‘automated Sherpa’ to further streamline the search process.
The AI will constantly learn from users’ behaviour on the app, taking into account information about the local area from the public domain such as hospitals, gyms and schools, as well as individual preferences to make more intuitive property recommendations.
“The industry is still very heavily geared to landlords’ requirements rather than tenants’,” co-founder Mayank Mathur told BusinessCloud.
“In London tenants spend on average 40 hours on a new rental and in young professionals it can take over 50 hours. Who has that much time in the space of four to eight weeks?
“The number of millenials renting tripled in the last 20 years. Almost 60 per cent of that age group don’t expect to be able to buy.
“10-15 years ago renting would be just in your 20s but this generation of ‘forever renters’ can expect it to last a long time.”
Co-founders and married couple Mayank Mathur and Valerie Vigouroux set up The Urban Collective in 2017 after spending 75 hours looking for a home in London and becoming fed up with the rental market.
The funds raised through their campaign will also help the company scale its operations across London.
“It’s a very important time for the sector,” said Mathur.
“In the last year more than £3 billion was invested in proptech and that’s about a 36 per cent increase compared to the year before.
“There’s a lot of catch up for the industry to do on the tech front – you see companies automating older things that should have been automated a decade ago.
“Others are on the cutting edge like us, looking at how to evolve the business model completely so tenants are catered to properly.”
As tech becomes more prevalent the property market will improve across the board, with each segment improving to cater for a range of needs says Mathur.
“We’re creating a product for renters, whereas other businesses are focussed on making first-time buying much easier, catering to the section that’s interested in buying,” he said.
“Everyone in different market segments will get better services for whatever they’re looking for.”
Since launching, The Urban Collective has seen consistent engagement from its user base with thousands of app users and overseen contracts with a rental value of more than £800,000.