David Rook of Esale
Harrogate-based online estate agency Esale is looking to take on the industry’s major players after closing a five-figure crowdfunding campaign.
Initially launched as a complementary offering to an established lettings agency in Harrogate, online estate agency Esale went its own way in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since.
The company is taking advantage of the rapid growth being seen in the online estate agency industry which is allowing home owners to sell their properties for less.
Customers can pay as low as £495 to sell their property through Esale’s online portal. This is significantly lower than the average of around £4,000 which a traditional high street agent would charge for a typical £300,000 property.
Founder and managing director David Rook told BQ: “I decided to launch EasyLet (original name) following my own personal dealings with estate agencies and the company quickly established a reputation for efficient service and honest, straightforward advice.
“The company soon amassed a portfolio of properties in affluent Harrogate, spreading later to Leeds and York, offering landlords the option of fully-managed services, let-only support or professional marketing advice.
“A rebrand followed in 2012, with the company changing its name to Elet to better reflect the firm’s position online, with the Esale brand added as an additional option for landlords with properties they wished to sell.
“However, a year later - once the letting agency was establish and running smoothly - a decision was made to re-launch Esale as a company in its own right.
“It is now Esale which is going from strength-to-strength as the online sales sector of the industry increases.
“With this in mind, Esale’s directors made the decision earlier this year to raise finance in order to take the business to the next level.”
In a bid to grow the business, David and his team decided to look to the crowd as a means of raising the capital needed.
This would not only allow them to raise money but would also help them repay their loyal customers with equity in the business.
This led to the company launching a crowdfunding campaign via online crowdfund platform Crowd for Angels.
“I’ve always liked the idea of crowdfunding and I know a lot of our customers were interested in backing us so this was the obvious choice,” David added.
The crowdfunding round proved a huge success and the firm attracted investment of £38,001 from 27 investors which it will now spend on ramping up its advertising and marketing campaigns in order to win new business.
“The money raised from crowdfunding will help us service the increase in business,” he added. “We are investing in staff and a larger office. The money will also be helping to increase our growth over the next 12 months.”
So, what’s next for the company following the raise? David concluded: “Looking forward, we want to be a viable alternative to the big online estate agent. A national estate agent with a passion for customer service.”
David’s top tips for entrepreneurs: