RatedRents: Andrea Marangia

The founder tells us about getting his business idea validated at BizCamp Tel Aviv and tackling the challenge of introducing a new concept to the market

Name: Andrea Marangia
Company name: RatedRents
Location: London 
Date launched: 20/05/2015
Website: www.ratedrents.com 

Tell us what your business does:

Our platform analyses thousands of property listings from Zoopla and “rate” them individually with grades from A to F, according to how good (or bad) we think each deal is.

This way anyone, regardless of their experience as tenant and knowledge of the property market, can make much more informed rental decisions and stay away from deals that offer poor value for money.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Prior to True Rent, I co-founded a property company that capitalised on holiday rentals in London and at various occasions we were able to negotiate for a much better rent by using comparable properties on the market in the area. This made me realise how tricky renting from a private landlord or agent in the UK (especially London) may be for inexperienced tenants with a limited knowledge of the property market in a specific area. Moreover, the majority of property websites did not offer enough comparison opportunities as they only list the properties which are available to rent now rather than information on homes already rented in the area.

The concept evolved with time as we soon realised we could save people a lot of research time by automating this process for them and only show the user a friendly rating letter (from A to F).

How did you know there was a market for it?

When I first moved to London (from Italy) I had no clue of where to live, so I had to undergo hours of research and manual comparisons to understand what properties would offer the best value for money.

But the need for our service was really validated when we presented the concept at BizCamp Tel Aviv UK; where we were shortlisted as one of the top four UK tech businesses and pitched at the facebook headquarters, competing against three other start-ups who had been in business for a lot longer and who had launched already.

We received encouraging feedback ever since: from the people we spoke and from our first users.

What were you doing before starting up?

I managed a holiday lettings company in London after graduating from a Business Computing course in 2012.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes. I have been running by own business since university. I rana few ventures and some have turned well, like the holiday business that we started with only £1,500 and ended up turning over half a million by the second year.

How did you raise the money?

The majority of the funding has come from my own personal savings and we’ve been helped by the the Accelerator Academy, at Innovation Warehouse in London.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We are planning to start monetising using a subscription-based model; whereby lettings agents can pay to have their properties exposed on our platform but agents will never be able to pay to improve their property ratings, they can only pay to have full visibility on RatedRents.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Like most start-ups, we faced the chicken and the egg challenge. We did not want to have a website with only few properties listed on it and, at the same time, we thought it would be very difficult to get landlords and lettings agents on board to then ‘judge’ their properties (in good or bad).

So we teamed up with Zoopla, who provides us with thousands of property listings we can play with. This way our users have a large selection of homes to choose from and we don’t have to invest resources in getting agents and landlords on board.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Definitely being shortlisted as top four high-growth tech start-ups in UK when all we had was a concept. Since then it has been an amazing journey to build a product that could live up to our initial concept, goals and expectations.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

If you are reading this (as budding/aspiring entrepreneurs), you already read hundreds of advice and probably know all the theory you need so go out there and take action now.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I would be happy if the world was a better place and want to start by helping people find a better home to rent in the UK.

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