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Purplebricks: ‘We want to grow our business model around the world’

The UK chief executive of Purplebricks says his company has ambitions to roll out its business model all over the world.

Lee Wainwright, speaking at the Future PropTech conference in London yesterday, said the short term ambition of the firm was to continue rolling out across the United States.

But eventually “we’ve ambitions to grow our business model across the world” he told delegates.


The hybrid agency is already active in parts of Australia and some of the US as well as across the UK.

Wainwright was the highest profile speaker in a debate chaired by Anthony Codling of investment analysts Jefferies - which in the past has been fiercely critical of Purplebricks’ failure to release sales completion data.

The debate also involved Ben Taylor, managing director of Keller Williams in the UK, and Hometrack chief executive Charles Bryant.

The debate - surprisingly muted and not attracting the full hall expected - saw Wainwright emphasise the importance of the customer experience for Purplebricks.

He said PropTech applications were assessed by his firm not on the basis of what help they offered to agents, but how much help they have to customers.

“When I looked at the hybrid model it was the customer sales proposition that stood out ... not the increasingly irrelevant concept of High Street offices” said Wainwright when asked about his contrasting experiences employed by Countrywide and now Purplebricks.

He spoke particularly enthusiastically about future PropTech innovations easing the slow and complicated house buying process. 

When asked about factors that helped boost market share for his firm, Wainwright cited the presence of prices on the website, saying: “Putting the price clearly is key ... the customer is in a different place, a better place, when they know how much something will cost.”

At the end of the session Wainwright suggested that by the end of this year the share of the market by online and hybrid models - currently thought to be around seven per cent - would be at least 10 per cent by the end of this year “but not as high as 15 per cent.”

He predicted it would be between 20 and 40 per cent in five years’ time.


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