Crowdfund pitch to student rental market raises £177k within hours

Launch was around a new app bringing students and landlords together on one interactive platform.

Crowdfunding 2

A new app that promises to revolutionise the way students find and choose rental properties raised £177k within hours of launching a crowdfunding campaign.

That was 82% of the £215k target SPCE set itself.

SPCE is described by its founders as the equivalent of AirBnB for student accommodation and the long-term rental market.

It brings together students and landlords on one platform and allows them to interact and build relationships with their peers, roommates and landlords alike.

Students can use the app to search and pay for university-specific student rental properties based near campuses, without using estate agents.

The properties available range from studios, one-bed flats and eight-bed houses to privately catered university halls housing up to 250 students.

Leon Ifayemi, founder and CEO of SPCE, said: “After my first year at university, I moved out of student halls and into private student accommodation. To survive, I took a job with the university which involved me taking students to view properties near the campus.

“It quickly became apparent that all the students I met shared the same questions and problems when viewing properties.

“The idea for SPCE slowly took hold. The following year, I did more work with landlords and found that they too had very similar interests and hurdles to overcome.

“I now knew what I wanted SPCE to be. The platform had to put students in touch with existing tenants so they could ask for recommendations and share real-life experiences.

“Another key element was that the platform also had to provide a system of accountability between the two parties – landlords and students.”

Leon linked up with Omar Fahmi to design the app and bring it to market.

The pair then signed contractual terms and conditions with software developer Intellectsoft to formally launch SPCE to the student community.

Leon continues: “Our market consists of students looking for term-time rental accommodation, at home and abroad, and landlords looking to reduce costs and automate the management of their property portfolios.”

Surveys show that many students feel dissatisfied with their standard of living.

YouGov recently revealed 40% of landlords wouldn’t rent their property to students, despite research by the National Landlords Association stating students are among the most reliable tenants.

SPCE is designed to put landlords in touch with students directly at very little cost, cutting out estate agents fees.

Both parties can communicate with each other via the app with its potential to reduce friction points such as poor maintenance or late payments.”

SPCE operates on a freemium model.

The app is free to join and will enable transactions between students and landlords by charging a service fee between 3% and 6% of each transaction.

SPCE already has secured 800 student pre-registrations and has partnered up with six top UK universities.

“Getting the backing of early investors feels like a ringing endorsement of the app and what we are trying to achieve. It comforts us in the belief that SPCE fills a gap in the market,” said Leon.

The investment raised will help fund the software development needed to support the app.

The funds will also help market and roll out the app on campuses with a view to formally launching SPCE to the UK student community by October.

Already the app has secured 800 student pre-registrations and has partnered up with six of the top 20 UK universities.