Cultural and behavioural shifts, empowered by technology, is at the heart of Felix thematic focus. We like to invest in large lifestyle verticals ripe for disruption based on new consumer behaviors. Since our inception in 2014, we have double down in categories such as food (by investing in Deliveroo, Frichti, AllPlants, La Ruche), wellness (by investing in Peloton, Goop, Urban, Manual), travel and mobility (by investing in TravelPerk, Dott, PerfectStay, Heetch), always by going deep and building relevancy.
About a year ago, looking at where consumers are spending their money, we decided to focus our efforts on Proptech as rental / mortgage is actually the biggest spending category for most consumers (check Emilie’s post on the topic here). Yet, renting / buying a flat is among one of our worst consumer experiences (on Trustpilot, Right move is rated 2* out of 5* and Zoopla 1* out of 5*). We see such a broken customer journey as a massive opportunity for new players to reinvent a complete new experience. We believe there is space to build new branded experiences in different Proptech categories and rental is one of our favorites.
When Tom pitched his vision of a new global modern rental brand a few months ago, it resonated a lot with what we were looking in terms of ambitious market play, although also well aware of the challenges and friction points to get there. But it’s “all about people” and the perspective of backing Tom and his team got us very excited. Tom is a charismatic serial marketplace entrepreneur, known for having founded eCourier (sold to Royal Mail) and Shutl (sold to eBay). At Shutl, Tom created a marketplace of local same-day delivery operators connecting them with multichannel retailers enabling immediate delivery of e-commerce first in UK and then in the US. Tom has spent the last 5 years as an executive at eBay ultimately as Vice President Shipping where he was responsible for managing a team of 150 engineers and product managers on 4 continents and two of eBay’s top 3 priority programs. He landed into the Proptech rabbit hole by starting to invest in his spare time into property to rent them both for long and short term. That’s how he has identified this specific consumer market gap and started to build Residently.
Tom bootstrapped Residently with his own capital and with the support of his previous angels, demonstrating the faith in his leadership. He also managed to assemble a high calibre C-level team from scratch including Sam, co-founder and CTO (ex Head of Engineering at Shutl and was part of the team that rebuilt the tech platform, launched the US offering and sold the company to eBay), Mike, COO (ex VP Ops Maisonette, ex East Coast GM Munchery), Marina, CMO (ex Head of Digital at Which? Online) and Alison, CFO (ex VP Americas at DA Consulting Group’s North America, ex Chief of Staff at Shutl). The quality of the team impressed us a lot during our due diligence, fitting squarely with our Manifesto #2: “our mission is to support entrepreneurs with big ideas, to help them build strong brands that stand out and that move the world forward”.
We then tested Residently platform as potential renters and were seduced by the seamless and branded experience. Everything happens online, via a frictionless app where it’s easy to find a property, book a viewing and exchange information with your “agent”.
This smooth consumer experience is enabled by streamlined operations on the supply side, focusing on landlords 3 major concerns: voids, damage and payment time. The company has developed deep expertise in furnishing properties with taste and pricing them fairly so that they won’t stay empty for a long time. Thanks to its agile long term/short term lease backend operation stack, Residently can make the most out of the real estate market seasonality and maximise its yield per property.
Although we’ve spent a lot of time digging in this category, it’s our first bet in Proptech. As such we are excited to partner with Residently alongside relevant proptech investors and friends such as LocalGlobe, who has previously invested in Zoopla, Tussle, Bricklane and GoodLord, and A/O Proptech, a Proptech and Real Estate specialist new venture firm.
As we are getting closer to the September “back-to-school”, key period of the year for Londoners to move into new flats, we couldn’t expect a better time for you to check out on Residently platform to find your next “home sweet home”!