When Peter had the idea for Movem, the property management portal for renters, he dropped straight out of Uni – and he hopes the Entrepreneur Festival will help him show his dad he’s got a real job!
Peter has been nominated for the BQ Festival's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award, and you could be too!
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Movem is a transparent portal, offering a community-focused alternative to the way people rent property. Tenants can create their free rental profile, build up feedback as a good renter, whilst reviewing their own rental experiences.
What did you do before you started this business?
I was studying at university, it’s quite a typical story really isn’t it?
What inspired you to start up?
I had to rent for the first time, and I was genuinely shocked at how archaic the whole system was. Normally I go online and read reviews of everything before I purchase something, but for this I had to go in blind.
So I made a basic website, and it blew up around uni. The next day I dropped out and just threw myself into this.
How would you describe your business to a novice?
In concept, it’s similar to Airbnb but for residential tenancies. Or perhaps a LinkedIn account for renting, somewhere between the two.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I have mentors, and fortunate enough to have some amazing investors who always give me time. Aside from that I read a lot. Also I have a few friends who are also creating companies, and that helps because we’re a similar age.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
I bootstrapped the company for 2 and a bit years, working as a freelance web designer in the evenings. Since then we’ve raised twice, both a typical SEIS raise and crowdfunding.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
That’s actually a difficult one. In general I don’t think raising finance is impressive, if anything it’s more impressive when a company gets big without needing external funding. That said, we did crowdfund £200k in just 10 days, and I was pretty proud of that.
It was so important to me because at the time I wasn’t sure if people really cared about what we did. It was great to see so many of our users actually invest money in Movem, because that was like “yeah, we’re doing this, it’s happening”.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
Nobody loves Rightmove, Zoopla or (insert name of a property portal here). They only use them because the properties are there. People love Movem, and it stands for something more than just what’s available. It’s the transparency we’ve come to expect, and most people can see why it’s really beneficial in general.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
In all honesty, I don’t think I take advantage of being my own boss enough.
I work long hours, I never really take weekends off, I’m always worrying about work and I don’t stand around ordering people to do the dirty work. I’m still the one in the office who takes the bins out and cleans the dishes.
As the company grows I hope to be able to actually take holidays and relax a bit more.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
I want every tenant to have a Movem rental profile - called a Movem Passport - and be building up reputation as good renters. The housing industry is going to change, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. In 5 years time it will be different. Hopefully Movem can somewhat lead that change and steer it in a positive direction.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Read more, ask more questions, do less planning and more ‘doing’ and be more persistent. We’ve had so many adversities where the company has felt like it was about to end. I’ve had situations where I’ve thought ‘this is it, there’s no way out of this’.
But, from speaking to people, this happens to most founders of disruptive companies. You need to be persistent and just keep finding a way.
Why did you enter the BQ Emerging Entrepreneur Awards?
I thought it’d be interesting - I’m only young once, so I may as well enter now before I’m boring and old!
What would it mean to you to win an award?
It’d be great. My Dad keeps telling me to get a proper job, and so if I won I’d just keep spamming him the link until he accepted that this is what I’m doing now.