The former regional managing partner of Grant Thornton, investor David Grundy, is launching a £1 million fundraising drive for My Online Estate Agent; a business he acquired in June 2014.
Following the deal, David Grundy relocated the business, formerly of High Wycombe to Ribchester in Lancashire. In his fundraising drive, Grundy claims that he plans to approach several interested parties including London-based venture capital trusts, as well as funding organisations such as Enterprise Ventures and the North West Fund and regional concerns like Seneca: a group with access to a local network of investors with a high net worth.
Grundy says that the funding will allow him to strengthen My Online Estate Agent’s senior team in sales, marketing and technology; as well as increasing the options for advertising the ventures “huge potential” in view of what David Grundy suggests will be imminent changes to the estate agency market:
“I’d like to complete a deal early in the new year – I’m looking for £500,000 up to £1 million to really have a go at growing it. I am reallly excited by My Online Eastate Agent. I think the online market is going to absolutely explode and we want to be ahead of the curve.
“I believe home sales will be disrupted by technology in the same way that the travel sector has been. Not long ago, there were travel agents on every high street but, with few exceptions like Kuoni, now they have been all but wiped out by online alternatives. I think the same will happen with estate agents.”
My Online Estate Agent has no physical presence; instead the business interfaces with major online property portals, like Zoopla and Rightmove.
Users choose the service they require though a menu of fixed-price services on the site. My Online Estate Agent send out a surveyor to estimate the value of the property and the listing is then advertised through a variety of channels. The key difference is that vendors then conduct their own viewings, putting sellers and buyers in contact and allowing them to negotiate directly instead of through a third party.
David Grundy continued:
“Most house hunters begin by looking online nowadays so the high street branches are no longer an essential part of the process. We can show that by eliminating the conventional estate agent, we can carry out the process in exactly the same way, but much more efficiently, so saving the seller a lot of money.”
While accepting that My Online Estate Agent is a “speculative” investment, Grundy still maintains that:
“If you buy into the belief that the (online home sales) market, which is around 5% now but is forecast to grow to 50% in the next three years, then it looks like an interesting opportunity.”
Words: Peter Cribley