Former Dragon James Caan is investing in online agent eMoov, it was announced this morning.
The aim is to make the online agent a mainstream option for consumers.
Caan and his business partner Faisal Butt’s venture capital firm Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate (HBRE) is backing the firm, set up by former high street agent Russell Quirk, pictured.
Quirk claims eMoov has so far sold over £250m worth of property since its inception in July 2008 and saved vendors over £6m in fees.
With the exception of viewings, he says eMoov provides all traditional estate agency services, charging a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale or rental price.
HBRE has assembled a board of directors for eMoov, including Ivan Ramirez, director of global product at Groupon; Jonathan Galore, chief technology officer at Wonga; and Sheraz Dar, former marketing director at the Daily Mail’s Digital Property Group. Earlier this year, Shar became a director of online letting agent Open Rent.
All three have co-invested in eMoov alongside Caan and Butt.
The total amount invested into eMoov has not been disclosed.
HBRE was set up in 2010 by James Caan and protégé Faisal Butt to invest in property related businesses. eMoov is the latest business to be backed by the venture capital firm, whose portfolio includes estate agency Ivy Gate.
Quirk said: “I want eMoov to be seen by the public as a genuine alternative to conventional estate agents whereas at the moment we’re a well-kept secret. This deal is less about raising new capital and more about the networks that HBRE provide. Faisal has been phenomenal in assembling a dream team that will help me to realise my ambition for eMoov.
“In the next few months we will be launching a new version of the website and spearheading a nationwide awareness campaign. Exciting times lie ahead and I am looking forward to it.”
Butt said: “Businesses like eMoov highlight Britain’s property innovation in a sector that is ripe for disruption. Since its launch, the company has sold over 1,400 properties ranging from just £40,000 to over £3m across all regions of the UK, proving that online estate agency works.
“Russell is already a successful entrepreneur but the mentoring and guidance he will get from the team we are building will help him to take eMoov to the next level.
“Going forward, we want to improve the technology eMoov uses to streamline the end-to-end process of selling a home, providing our customers with convenience and transparency, and allowing them to purchase complementary services related to their house move.
“We are looking to bring the same convenience and ease that customers experience while shopping on Amazon into the house selling process.”
Caan said: “I am delighted to seal the deal with the UK’s largest online estate agency in eMoov.co.uk
“I’m confident that with the team we have put together, eMoov can be a serious challenger to conventional estate agency and lead online estate agency into the mainstream.
“If customers can get the same result for less money and with added convenience, why wouldn’t they choose online agencies just as they have done with travel agencies?”
See today’s blog section for an interview with Russell Quirk.