Startups Awards Hall of Fame: Michael and Kenny Bruce, Purplebricks

2015's Tech Business of the Year and Innovative Business of the Year winner tells Startups how winning the Startups Awards gave the team the chance to celebrate their success....

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Founder: Michael and Kenny Bruce
Year Started: 2014

In 2015, Purplebricks took home not one, but two Startups Awards. In the last 12 months the property start-up, founded just two years ago, has already experienced fantastic success and recently announced £18.6 turnover.

Purplebricks is an online estate agency that allows customers to arrange bookings, viewings and sales from their mobile phone. It is a 24-hour service that has proven effective as 70% of its trading happens outside of traditional working hours.

Michael and Kenny Bruce both had experience in the property business and have shaken up the old estate agent’s business model by charging customers a flat rate of £798 or £1198 in London and surrounding areas to sell a property. This saves the average customer across the UK £3,086 and the average customer in London and the surrounding areas £6,308.

That is why Purplebricks was selected for Innovative Business of the Year and Tech Business of the year – they came with a fresh approach to selling property using an online platform.

A year later we caught up with Michael and Kenny to find out about continued their growth overseas, growing their team and receiving positive feedback from their customers.

What’s happened in the last year since you entered the Startups Awards?

We’ve had a great year since we won – things just keep getting better for us. In the UK, we’re the third largest estate agency. We sold over £2.7bn worth of property in the last financial year and currently have 9,075 properties for sale. I’m proud to say we are no longer just a UK business, we have just launched in Australia and we have the potential to become a strong global brand.

We have over 200 Local Property Experts and are growing our team all the time –  we’ve moved our head office to bigger premises three times now and a fourth move is on the cards. We haven’t stopped trying to improve our customer service, either and in April launched an app which enables people to sell their homes on the move, 24/7. It was actually in the top 100 downloads for iPads, in the lifestyle category. I can’t say too much more, as we have a trading update on the 15 September and we need to report to our shareholders – but make sure you take a look.

What’s been the single biggest highlight for the business since winning?

It’s difficult to pick just one. I’m proud of what we achieve every single day. We went from a standing start in April 2014 to floating on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM in less than two years. We’re the most positively reviewed estate agent in the UK and probably the fastest growing in history. When I look at our Trustpilot reviews, where we have an average score of 9.4/10 from 6,988 reviews and see our Net Promoter Score sit at +80, it really hits home that our customers love us. We save the average customer £4,158 and make the process of selling, buying, letting or renting a home so easy. I also have to recognise and thank our people. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are, we have a great team.

What are you hoping to achieve in the next year or so?

We have loads to go after – there’s plenty of market share to be won. In a nutshell, we want to take on more Local Property Experts, grow our revenue (both here and in Australia) and continue to invest in new and exciting technology for our customers.

What did winning at the Startups Awards mean to you?

It was great recognition for our customers and our people, who are our major brand advocates. It reinforced our belief in what we are doing and what we are looking to achieve –   changing an industry and making a difference.  It’s a privilege to join an exclusive club of other incredible businesses like Gousto and the Cambridge Satchel Company, to name but two – we are in fantastic company.

Why would you recommend entering awards like this?

Winning opened doors for us. It was also a real celebration for the team, when we found out we won. When you start a business, there are so many obstacles and challenges to overcome, that sometimes it’s just sheer determination and stubborn self-belief that that gets you through. It was encouraging to be told by an independent body that we were a success – it kept the team going and gave us something to celebrate. It’s true that the entry takes a little bit of time to write, but I see it as a genuine investment in the business.

To enter the 2016  Startups Awards, click here.

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