Interview with Simon Tillyer, Director at Tenant Referencing Platform: Vouch

Vouch is a tenant referencing platform that is built by letting agents for letting agents. By digitising one of the most time consuming, stressful, and costly aspects of the letting process, Vouch enables its users to move away from slow, outdated processes, to a simple online platform that saves them time and money, cutting normal costs by around 65% as well as providing opportunities to earn commission-based revenue.

We like to think of it as tenant referencing that pays you – our users can earn up to £300 per property they let.




How did you come up with the idea for the company?


Before launching Vouch together in 2017, my wife Jaime and I worked as letting agents for 12 years. It was during this time that we came to understand the difficulty in sourcing quality service providers – for even the most everyday things like utilities, broadband and administration – that we were confident could do a great job and wouldn’t cost the earth.

Ultimately, it was the years spent paying for sub-par tenant referencing services – and the realisation that our experience was far from unique – that convinced Jaime that we could do something about it. It didn’t take much persuading to get me on board, and the idea for Vouch was born.

From there, we sourced developers that understood our objectives and experience with letting, and could support us in creating a product that reflected that. Together we built a platform that takes users through the letting experience and flags any additional features that may be of value to them.

This could include the option to include Rent Guarantee Insurance amidst the pandemic, or even a list of tried and tested utilities providers from which users can earn commission based revenue for every contact taken out by their tenant. These personal touches offer our users a tailored experience, and that have been instrumental in our success. I’m proud to say that Vouch is a platform that I wish I’d had access to when I first joined the industry.



What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?


With countless startups popping up across all industries, it has never been more important for entrepreneurs to focus on refining their own offering and not get sidetracked by comparing your success with others’. It’s so important to remember that success isn’t linear. To avoid being pulled in a million different directions entirely, make sure that you believe in your product and understand your customers. Stay focused on them.


What can we hope to see from Vouch in the future?


We’re constantly looking for ways to make our products and services more accessible and efficient, so amidst the ongoing (and continually evolving) pandemic, Vouch will be continuing to implement a range of measures to provide tailored support to clients.

We’ve already talked about Rent Guarantee Insurance, but additional measures such as deposit replacement schemes and mediation advice are also likely to become key tenets of our offering in 2021. We’re also working to optimise our product in ways that not only anticipate and flag any evolving risk factors but take the necessary steps to ensure that processes can safely continue during a crisis.

Beyond the pandemic, we’ve invested a lot of time and energy over the past year into hiring a brilliant team of talented individuals. I’m so proud to say that we’ve doubled our headcount over the past year alone, and hope to see our team continue to grow and provide a shining example of the burgeoning PropTech space in Sheffield.