Interview with Stepan Dobrovolskiy, Founder and CEO at Innovative Letting Company: Mashroom

Mashroom is an AI and Big Data driven approach to rethink and improve the traditional processes within rentals, sales and property management.

It is hard to imagine, but over 2 million landlords pay an incredible amount of £8bn in fees to 26,000 letting agents annually. So, Mashroom’s free to use, end-to-end platform empowers landlords and tenants to rent, let, and manage residential properties in one place, saving them hassle and thousands of pounds in fees every year.

It is a pretty effective and an easy-to-use tool. Mashroom ecosystem connects landlords and tenants, removing the need for intermediaries and fees.

It takes only 10 minutes to advertise a property with Mashroom. Our end-to-end platform streamlines property management from arranging viewings, negotiating offers and signing contracts, to collecting rent and dealing with repairs with the help of 7,000 tradespeople. Landlords can monitor the financial performance of their properties, insure their rent and get free mortgage advice to optimise income.

And what is important in COVID-19 and post eras – everything could be done remotely within the platform and the Mashroom app.
 
 
Mashroom.com letting agent
 

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

 
Before Mashroom I was working in a venture fund, investing around 400 million over the course of 10 years, before we closed the fund in 2017. After that I was looking to raise a new fund in the proptech sector, investing in proptech startups.

Proptech startups were full of new and exciting opportunities to really get my teeth into. So I had a few great conversations with people that we were willing to back. However, the problem was, I couldn’t find the pipeline for the fund, and the companies I would invest in were nice, but they weren’t enough. This then got me thinking about what type of company I would seriously invest in and that’s when the idea for Mashroom came about.

I had been looking for something that didn’t exist yet, so I decided to create the company that I was looking for. Purposely building that exciting gap in the market that I had spent so much time wanting to invest in.

I’d been renting in London for years before buying my current property, so I was more than aware of the struggles that exist in the rental market, particularly in London. As a renter, I knew all of the pain points, and at the time, I couldn’t find a tool to help me solve them… so I built it.

Alex Badalyan, our CFO came on board very quickly and between us we worked tirelessly to scope up the functionality of the company, and eventually we came out with a solid model that we were happy with, and more importantly – knew would work.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
The pandemic was a scary time for a new business, at the beginning, like everyone else, we were worried. The property market ground to a halt, nobody was moving so our belts did have to be tightened. It was frustrating, especially as it was external forces at play and we could only try our best to ride it out.  And we did.

The property market reopened, and we were able to breathe a bit more then. We’ve launched a few great features, e.g. online viewings and even before that with Mashroom you could ask your present tenant to video-tour a property to a potential tenant. With all these features which makes the process from ads placing to the online contract signing and payments handling we have been growing fast, and we are in the same position now as we would have been without the lockdown.

But from a technological point of view, the lockdown actually benefited us as a business, the everyday adoption of technology grew tenfold. People are much more comfortable using online platforms now than they were previously, the online industry boomed, and we rode that wave.
 

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

 
We are going to continue to keep growing and improving our service. We are constantly adding new offerings to help our customers.

There are so many exciting new improvements, from geographical areas to different tenancy types and offering rental payments to be paid in cryptocurrency in the pipeline to add to our platform. It’s growing all the time, speared on by the needs and requirements of our customers.

We are aiming to cover 10% of the market within the next 3-4 years, and as the market is so fragmented, this will allow us to be the frontrunner in this space.