As CEO and co-founder of digital property platform Settled, Gemma Young prides herself in overseeing strategy and being innovative, as her team work to solve a genuine industry problem.
What is it the company does?
Settled is a B2C online property platform which transcends the estate agent model by simplifying the home-selling and buying process empowering consumers to sell and buy with more assurance and security. Homeowners pay to list homes on Settled's platform with a one-off fixed fee of £499 and no further hidden costs. For this, customers get all they need to sell a home from start to finish saving them an average of £5,000 in fees.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
As CEO and co-founder, I deliver the strategic vision for the business making sure we’re staying on the cutting edge of innovation and staying true to our consumer focus. I’m also passionate about building a team and culture who ultimately connect to our mission to make more consumers happy and to create perfect real estate transactions.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
After graduating, I spent time working in an estate agent in my early career, before joining Google where I stayed for many years, working across three continents. I was inspired by technology’s transformative power and its subsequent impact on so many industries - everything from the online travel sector’s impact on the high street, to on-demand TV and its effect on the movie rental industry. While pretty much every industry was profoundly impacted by the invention of new digital solutions, the real estate sector remained relatively stationary.
I saw a gap in the property market for a consumer-powered real estate model and together with my brother (and co-founder) launched Settled - an online platform that would give people more control of their property sale or purchase. My passion is to help real estate transactions to become perfect and that means inexpensive, transparent, accessible and stress-free. Settled does exactly that - it helps people to feel more ‘Settled’.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Being driven to solve a genuine problem, and building and connecting a team of people who are also driven to solve that problem.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Not being overwhelmed by the desire to fix everything we see as faulty or in need of innovation, and ensuring we prioritise the features we build.
Since launching in 2016, Settled has grown significantly and we now have many wonderful, connected users who use our online property platform. They are our inspiration and we spend a lot of time talking to them and coming up with solutions to the barriers they encounter when setting out to buy or sell a home online. There is so much we want to build to improve their experience, and we have an ever-growing feature list that I’d love us to be able to deliver on instantly - but building strong processes and features takes time, so we have to make sure we’re focused on the priorities.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Running a startup can be challenging and stressful, and finding ways to unwind is important. For me this means being around family and friends, or getting away for a weekend.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always had a passion for technology, and wanted to work to help solve big problems with tech. Our father has been involved in the property industry for as long as we can remember and this certainly influenced both myself and Paul in our early careers, and ultimately led us both to start a property technology business together.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Our team is committed and passionate about the work we do, and so I love being in the office. We strive to have a workplace where our team can feel comfortable and inspired to connect and innovate. If I had to pick a pet hate...our team ‘punning’ culture led by our Chief of Tech; Dean...pretty much daily cringing ensues - ha - we all secretly love it.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Since launching the platform in 2016, £250m worth of homes have been sold saving customers an estimated £5m in estate agency fees. We are focused on taking property transactions to a place where moving home can simply feel joyful = ultimately helping 1000s of people feel more ‘Settled’.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Connect to your ‘why’ - your individual passion and the thing that you want to solve. This needs to drive you and, as you grow, your team.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Not to be too hard on myself - starting a business is challenging and there are inevitable ups and downs, so get ready and enjoy the ride.
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