Our Start-up of the Week is Moove, a company on a mission to disrupt the traditional real-estate business.
“Moove is a hybrid estate agency in Ireland,” explained Moove founder David Madden.
“We are leading the way in a new era of estate agency. We are a fixed-fee estate agent offering a flexible, cost-effective and transparent way to sell property.
‘We are trying to change the perception that selling a property must cost you thousands in fees. There is an alternative and we are providing it’
– DAVID MADDEN
“Moove empowers homeowners to sell their home for a fraction of the cost of traditional estate agents and allows sellers to manage the sale of their home on a 24/7 basis while at the same time getting the benefits of hands-on, expert local knowledge, saving thousands of euros in the process.”
Madden explained that Moove is targeting the traditional real-estate market that has failed to adopt technology at a pace that consumers expect.
“We are trying to attract homeowners and landlords or anyone selling a property. We are trying to change the perception that selling a property must cost you thousands in fees. There is an alternative and we are providing it.”
Madden has more than 14 years’ experience in the property market in Ireland, England and Spain.
He created Moove after working in the real-estate market in London where he noticed that companies such as Purplebricks and eMoov were starting to generate a lot of traction.
“Now, in a few short years, eMoov is valued at £40m and Purplebricks has a projected revenue of £80m for 2018 and a total valuation of just under £1bn.”
“Moove offers a full estate agency service that incorporates technology to tackle the heavy lifting,” Madden said.
This heavy lifting includes aspects such as property valuations, viewings and changing customer content.
“We augment this with brilliant people for the sensitive stuff such as valuation visits, offer negotiation, dealing with solicitors and following sales through to completion.
“Our one small fee includes: advertising on leading property portals such as Daft.ie, MyHome.ie, Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation; professional photography for sale boards; accompanied viewings; as well as value-added services such as mortgages, insurance and conveyancing.
“This allows us to continue to deliver a personalised service for our customers as we grow, without having to grow our customer care team at the same rate. By automating tasks traditional estate agents do manually, we increase response times, reduce the risk of mistakes and reduce cost of servicing.
“Our core platform, called MyMoove, gives customers complete visibility and control over their property sale – a service traditional estate agents just cannot offer.
“We allow customers to log in 24 hours a day to view and update their property listing, accept and reject offers, manage their viewings and more. Looking ahead, that service will grow to offer customers more transparency and control over their property sale. We plan on building further technology that will help the consumer.”
Madden said that mobile is a key channel, with 80pc of traffic arriving on mobile and tablet devices.
“We will be investing funds into the MyMoove app that mirrors our back-end platform on Moove. The reason for this is that, currently, 80pc of our traffic is on mobile so we need to make sure that all our customers have the same great experience, whatever platform they are using Moove on.
“As well as this, it means that our customers can accept and reject potential offers, edit their adverts and book viewings wherever they are and whatever time of day.”
Madden explained that the ultimate goal is to change the way people sell property.
“We are trying to change the public’s perception that it is a difficult process and that they need to pay huge fees in commission.
“We would like to bring the industry online in the same way Airbnb has done for accommodation, Ryanair for the travel industry, Paddy Power for the betting industry.
“By bringing the industry online in Ireland, Moove brings overheads to a bare minimum, allowing discounts on product prices to be passed on to our consumers. High-street agents are not currently providing the best deal for consumers. Customer choice, transparency and value are often not being delivered – and we are here to change that.”
According to Madden, plans are accelerating.
“We raised €40,000 in August to kick-start the business. We have hit our targets and are signing up customers. We are currently raising €200,000 in a second-round investment on Crowdcube. The plan is to continue to develop our technology while providing the best customer experience in what is likely to be the biggest transaction of their lives.”
But, like with all start-ups, funding is a challenge. “As a start-up in Ireland, funding is nearly impossible to get your hands on; we were told ‘no’ by bank after bank.
“However, after a lot of searching, we found some great alternatives, like Flender – a start-up themselves who are a peer-to-peer funding network – and IrishInvestmentNetwork.ie. There are people out their looking to invest, it’s just a matter of finding them.
“The Irish start-up scene is thriving at the moment. There are some great tech companies coming through and, in some cases, revolutionising certain sectors.”
His advice for fellow founders? “Network. Be sure to get to know people in your industry and try to find mentors who are have been there before and are willing to help.”
Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox? Sign up for Tech Trends, Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news.