Uniplaces is handing affordable accomodation back to students

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Name: Uniplaces
Industry/sector: House rental
Date founded: 2012
Founders: Mariano Kostelec, Miguel Santo Amaro and Ben Grech
Location: London

The company first launched in Lisbon in 2012, backed by Shilling Capital Partners, with the website expanding to include London – now its headquarters – in June 2013.

There are 162m students worldwide, a number which is estimated to grow to 260m by 2020, and each year students in the private rental sector spend over £120bn on their accommodation. This is a large and poorly served market niche, a huge problem that Uniplaces has set out solve.

After recently raising a £2.2m investment, Uniplaces is well on the way to becoming the global, trusted brand for student accommodation.

Rebecca Marshall, a member of the Ventures team at Octopus Investments, which has invested in the business, said: “Uniplaces is an innovative business model that has found a niche in a large and attractive market. The growth in the number of students, in particular those travelling abroad for university courses, is giving rise to an increased demand for reliable accommodation, particularly that which can be booked online.

“The business has demonstrated good early traction to date and we see great potential for opportunities in other geographical regions, both in the UK and in other countries. We have been impressed by the management team and their strong international experience, and we are excited about partnering with them in the next stage of the company’s development.”

Not only that, it is suggested that the company also saves landlords time, making it easy to maximise occupancy rates by enabling the receiving of bookings in advance and giving the business exposure to a larger pool of potential tenants.”

In August, the company reached a major milestone, booking over 150,000 nights of accommodation, which came on the back of a number of successes. These include the forging of key partnerships with owners and managers of major UK student accommodation such as Fresh Student Living. As a result, Uniplaces now offers London students a choice of over 11,000 rooms in the capital, as well as 4,000 in Lisbon and 1,000 in Madrid.

“It’s been an incredible year for Uniplaces, as we’ve grown from a small startup company to being a leader in the student accommodation market,” said co-founder Ben Grech. “London is quickly becoming a top destination for international students wanting to study abroad and we’ve been growing our business around this increasing demand. The partnerships we’ve formed with some of the country’s most respected businesses have given us a great boost as we look to expand out across the UK and Europe in the near future.”  

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