We caught up with Asaf Navot, founder of rental startup Home Made to talk all things from revolutionising the rental industry to international expansion…
Tell us about Home Made
Home Made is a proptech rental startup. Our mission is to provide a simple, fair, and transparent service to landlords and renters alike across London and beyond.
Our technology and data-driven approach to property marketing allow us to offer a uniquely efficient service as well as savings of 60%-90% in lettings fees for our clients. Our sophisticated operating model also allows us to drastically reduce the time it takes to let a property. This means that landlords avoid costly periods of vacancy and renters find and move into their ideal home sooner.
We treat landlords and renters with empathy and respect. We are modernising the process of renting and letting property while providing more efficient service and superior outcomes for all our customers.
How did you come with the idea for the company?
As both a landlord and renter, my experience with traditional agents has been consistently negative and I saw an opportunity to disrupt the industry. Common issues include lack of honesty, terrible customer service, inefficiency, hidden charges, and extortionate fees.
The eureka moment came during a 2am taxi ride.
I was working 90-hour weeks at the time as a strategy consultant while also trying to let a property. I left the office at 2 am and in the taxi started reading emails received from the traditional agents. I was frustrated by the clearly misaligned incentives. Looking out the window, I noticed an absurd number of traditional agency offices on the high street and I wondered who was paying all their rent. Then I realised that it was people like me paying the rent through costly agency fees. At the same time, I had never visited a branch myself and didn’t know anybody who did. I arrived home and woke up my wife to discuss the idea and that was the beginning of Home Made.
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How has your business fared during the pandemic?
We started planning for the potential impact and magnitude of coronavirus in late January, preparing for various scenarios. Our extensive early planning allowed us to survive the lockdown in good shape while serving hundreds of clients when they needed us most.
Driving an operational business like ours during times of extreme uncertainty has not been easy. In preparation for the impact of the pandemic, we trialled nine different operating models (imagine the stereotypical frenetic startup but on steroids!) to allow us to adapt to circumstances however they evolved so that our customers would continue to receive great quality service. For example, video viewings proved to be very effective for some renter demographics.
We also used the time to go on the offensive, allowing us to onboard a large number of private landlords who were very unhappy with their traditional agencies.
Our robust performance during lockdown has put us in an excellent position to grow – we have since added 25 additional team members and onboarded thousands of new landlords and renters.
What can we hope to see from Home Made in the future?
In the future you can expect to see Home Made expanding to more locations, both nationally and internationally, as well as developing new proprietary product solutions to meet customer needs and growing to become the largest proptech rental service in Europe. We are restoring faith in the rental process and our ultimate ambition is to be the most trusted provider of rental services in the marketplace.