Fresh from graduating out of the Wayra U.K. incubator, Buzzmove has closed a $650,000 seed round to build out its removals comparison platform.
The U.K. startup said it plans to use the new funding to bring more vendors into the marketplace as it prepares to launch its service nationwide.
The seed funding comes from a group of investors including Michael & Simon Blakey at Avonmore Developments, Daniel McPherson and Tom Singh (Founder of New Look) at Launcha.com, Andrew Weizs at Lean Investments and Justin Peters, CEO of Kabbee.
Wayra U.K. has also invested in Buzzmove a second time, and one of its directors, Charmaine Eggberry, has been appointed as a non-exec director and chairperson at Buzzmove. Blakey has also been appointed as Buzzmove’s investor director.
Buzzmove, which was founded back in march 2013, describes itself as the ‘Moneysupermarket or Kayak of the removal industry’ — offering a platform to compare prices for removals and book online from vetted removal companies.
The service launched in beta back in November in London so Buzzmove could test its algorithms. It’s now on the cusp of launching nationwide — and kicking off a national marketing campaign as it seeks to scale up.
“We are first to market with our solution in Europe. [U.S.-based] Unpakt.com is our closest competitor, and they have also developed an algorithm based model to provide instant quotes,” says Buzzmove CEO Becky Downing, detailing the competitive landscape.
Buzzmove’s platform-based, algorithm-powered approach aims to streamline conversion for removals companies — and simplify the removals experience for users.
“The current European market consists only of lead generation sites. Here customers enter basic information that is sold to local removal companies on a cost per lead basis. These companies then call the customer, and compete to arrange home visits and then provide quotes following a visit,” she tells TechCrunch.
“These sites are extremely unpopular with removal companies as they pay for leads up front, and struggle with the conversion rate, and time wasted chasing poor quality leads. Customers are faced with a barrage of sales calls leading to home estimation visits and a few days delay before being in a position to book a job.”
Buzzmove has an exclusive partnership with the BAR (British Association of Removers) — allowing it to promise that vendors listed on its site have been “thoroughly vetted and validated”.
“Our mission, is to take the stress out of physically moving, with Europe’s first online price comparison and booking platform for home removals. Instant quotes. Exact quotes. And quality, pre-validated movers only,” continues Downing.
“Using this platform, our customers can book their home move in three simple steps: Step 1: You plan your move using our proprietary inventory technology; Step 2: You compare exact prices and reviews; and Step 3: You pay a deposit, and hey presto – you’ve just booked your move in minutes, rather than days.
“What makes this possible is the algorithm that sits at the centre of our platform. We’ve built this algorithm from the ground up with the help senior industry leaders.”
On the front end, the user specifies the size of the place they are moving from and then starts with an average inventory for that house size — which they can then tweak via a drag-and-drop interface to add/remove items of furniture and boxes to come up with an accurate inventory.
Buzzmove takes a 13% commission on all removal bookings made through its platform. Its business model also extends to referral fees on related services booked via the platform (such as packing, storage, boxes etc), and there’s a monthly recurring fee for its SaaS product.
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Blakey said: “We believe Buzzmove is a company with huge potential: it has a win-win model, and strikes a perfect balance between providing removers with booked jobs, straight into their order books and offering consumers a series of tailored accurate quotes on how much it will cost for them to move with trusted and accredited removers. ”
TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear contributed to this report