New proptech company, The Urban Collective, launched a rental search app to cut down the time and effort spent on finding the perfect property. The business promises to make the drawn out, painful process of renting quicker, simpler and more enjoyable through a unique mix of smart technology, property listing data and human interaction.
The company is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur co-founders and married couple, Mayank Mathur and Valerie Vigouroux, who developed the service after a frustrating experience finding their own place to rent. While other elements of the property market have undergone a significant shake-up, the rental market has traditionally been geared towards landlords rather than tenants. When looking for a new home last year, the couple spent up to 75 hours having discussions with 13 to 14 agents and viewing over 40 properties before finding their perfect home – and that was before the moving admin.
Frustrated by their experience, and confident there was a better way of renting, they partnered with the only estate agent they met during their search who really understood their personal challenge and wanted to help save them time, co-founder Octavian Pop.
“The renting journey is significantly lagging behind customer service standards found in other industries and we know British renters are as fed up as we were. Nearly a third believe the industry is ‘out of date’ and 38 per cent feel tenants’ needs are not prioritised,” founder Mayank Mathur said. “We believe The Urban Collective is the only proptech service that has been built to be 100 per cent focussed on tenant customer service from the ground up. Our business model doesn’t rely on fees from landlords unlike other businesses, so we can ensure the tenant is always the number one priority.”
The Urban Collective team developed a new service, ‘Sherpa’, which is the first ‘enhanced’ lettings search experience specifically for London’s busy professionals, of whom a third currently spend between 50 and 250 hours finding a new property to rent. The service will help to significantly reduce the time it takes to find the right home, with the help of a dedicated, hand-picked local expert.
Every Sherpa has personal local knowledge of each client’s chosen region. Once assigned, they will establish their client’s dream home profile, understanding their property and important lifestyle needs. Sherpas then conduct a lifestyle-driven search on the client’s behalf, scouring listings, directly contacting agents and viewing potential properties in selected cases. Clients are shown a select shortlist of available properties that best fit their requirements, keeping viewings of the final selection to a minimum. The Sherpa even helps to complete the documentation and secure the property.
According to The Urban Collective’s research, a third of renters find the process even more painful and time consuming when renting as a group, so in addition to the bespoke concierge service, The Urban Collective has created a new and free to use interactive app called UrbanCo that streamlines the process for couples, groups and families. The app offers lifestyle-focused listings, with properties curated based on their proximity to things such as gyms and hospitals, or commuting options rather than simply price and location and so on.
The UrbanCo app also allows collaborative chat and commenting, with link, image and video sharing to help roommates coordinate when deciding on a place.
The UrbanCo app is free for anyone to download and use. It will be available in tandem with The Urban Collective’s ‘Sherpa’ service, initially in London before expanding into major cities across the UK.