goodlord: Richard White
The founder tells us about his entrepreneurial journey from disco to proptech, the benefits of working in a start-up and getting his business on Channel 4
Name: Richard White
Company name: goodlord
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 20/01/2015
Tell us what your business does:
Goodlord is a cloud-based software platform revolutionising the way tenancy agreements are handled. We bring together tenants, landlords and estate agencies online, then generate and process all the paperwork electronically to minimise administrative costs and effort.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Through my work as an estate agent and feeling the pain of the rental process. I spotted that there was a technology gap as the process of tenancy transactions is still fragmented, slow and inefficient for all parties involved.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Because I worked in the industry and knew how much time was wasted with the old, outdated process. The property market is always looking to drive efficacy and I think we can truly deliver this. We tried and tested our business and it worked so we ran with it.
What were you doing before starting up?
My first job was as a promoter of live music events until my parents told me to get a ‘proper’ job. I then started working for Foxtons because the allure of getting a car, phone and laptop when you started was too much. It was here that I gained an amazing insight into the property market. From there I moved to Startups 100 member Capital Living (founded by Young Gun Adam Goff). Here I worked alongside Adam to grow the company.
I got great exposure and learned skills that are invaluable to me today; and in the time I worked for the company we doubled its size, set yet to be broken sales records, won many awards and were part of a Channel 4 documentary on the company (which also follows me as I set up Goodlord!).
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, I started a disco company when I was 15! My father is a business man, so growing up I watched him start and grow his own business so I really don’t know any different.
How did you raise the money?
Through angel networks and lots of meetings. I learned some valuable lessons, one of the most important being that when someone says they will invest in your company remember that it’s not over until that money is in your account.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Currently, we work on a freemium model so our basic product is free but users can pay to add on more features such as customized branding or multiple agents. The monthly cost starts at £299.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Understanding card payment legislation and integrating the payment system we wanted into an existing platform. We just kept on talking to people until we got what we wanted, persistence pays off.
What was your first big breakthrough?
When we made our basic product completely free.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Just do it! I meet too many people who just talk about what they would like to do. I was one of those for two years and it killed me. The more you keep talking about what you are going to do the less likely you are to actually do it.
I’ll quote Gandhi and say, “action expresses priorities.”
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Our vision is to revolutionise the way property is transacted, both rentals and sales. The property market is notoriously fragmented and today, the paperwork is still incredibly slow and inefficient.
We’re on a mission to fix that by creating a uniform transaction standard for buyers and renters, and ultimately becoming the transaction gateway for property rentals and purchases.
I would also like to see Goodlord expand, both in terms of offering and geography.