Raising Finance

Online estate agent easyProperty to demolish high street rivals with £25m investment

3 min read

09 December 2015

Former deputy editor

easyProperty, the online estate agent harnessing the easyGroup brand created by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has secured a £25m investment to grow its operation by snatching market share from traditional high street firms.

London-based hedge fund Toscafund, which has a focus on fast-growth SMEs in sectors that are being disrupted by new challengers, led the investment to build on a portfolio that includes online car insurance firm Esure.

Marking easyProperty’s third round, Toscafund put forward £14m and has the opportunity to invest a further £9m in the future, while additional investors – some old and some new – contributed £2m.

This completed beat the £5m target easyProperty had in place, which takes the firm’s total investment to £39.25m and valuation to £100m. CEO Rob Ellice is determined to take on traditional high street estate agents with the company’s online approach.

Leveraging the easyGroup branding to disrupt the property sector

“This new, very substantial investment from Toscafund is a real opportunity to keep expanding both in the sales and lettings markets in the UK and in pan-European property services, and a sure indication of how we plan to take the market share from traditional high street agencies,” he said.

“The appetite of such a large institutional investor, and with ongoing talks of investment opportunities internationally, is a significant step forward for easyProperty; which is the most widely recognised consumer brand in what is a very fragmented estate agency market.”

Of course, Ellice was very vocal of his belief that the high street model is dead back in September, at which time easyProperty launched a PR stunt in the guise of a funeral for the traditional business sector.

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easyProperty’s previous two rounds of funding were also oversubscribed – it secured £4.5m in February 2014 and a further £9.75m in September, all of which was a combination of private finance, venture capital and crowdfunding.

Martin Hughes from Toscafund added: “Being the first to discover Direct Line Insurance in the 1980s, a motor insurance company that used the telephone, a then disruptive approach, to grow to become the largest UK motor insurer, I have successfully continued the search for disruptive businesses in the 30 years since.

“easyProperty offers the brand, technology and management to enable a considerable saving to property transaction costs compared to the incumbents. The online process is an impressive disruptive approach to ease a much needed overcharged road block to the population mobility.

“We look forward, with confidence, to easyProperty leading the online development of property transactions and services in the UK and Europe.”