Movebubble, the startup that wants to make renting in London suck a little less, has picked up $1.6 million in further funding, bringing total investment to just over $3.4 million. Investors include Adam Williams (former Spotify MD), Richard Leigh (co-founder and MD of London and Capital), and Robert Stiff.
The company, which launched on-stage at our very own TechCrunch Disrupt London late last year, offers an app that lists properties available to rent and helps manage the rental process, including booking viewings.
Specifically, Movebubble promises to put renters first, letting them share information on different areas of London and give feedback on properties.
Crucially, it also claims to offer real-time availability of the properties listed through the app, solving one of the major pain-points of searching for a place to rent: by the time you contact a landlord or their agent, the property is already taken.
“There are 1.9 million renters in London, and so many ways that finding somewhere to rent is stressful and frustrating, from properties listed not actually being available, to ringing up multiple agents about a variety of properties in utter confusion, to not knowing which area of a city is best for you to live,” Movebubble founder Aidan Rushby tells TechCrunch.
“We check the real-time availability of properties, let renters book and manage viewings in one place and offer curated area guides based on renters’ preferences. For the first time, we let renters help each other with their searches, through sharing their insights on properties.”
This renter-first approach, says Rushby, is in contrast with competitors Rightmove and Zoopla, which focus more on the supply side of the rental process, doing very little beyond listing properties to rent.
“The problem with Rightmove and Zoopla is that they don’t see the renter through to the point of viewing properties – renters have to ring up so many different estate agents (there are over 2,000 in London) that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of bookings and you have to note down all these details elsewhere,” he says.
That’s a point echoed by investor and Movebubble director Arik Peretz, who says he “fell in love” with Movebubble because it brings greater efficiency and transparency to the rental market.
Meanwhile, it’s not currently possible to actually rent a property through the Movebubble app, but this is on the startup’s immediate roadmap, which, once rolled out, would pit it more against something like Rocket Internet’s NestPick.