Harry Hill, the former Countrywide boss and Rightmove founder, is the chairman of the Stelios Haji-loannou easyProperty venture, Eye can reveal.
Hill is named in the management line-up of what is planned to be an online estate agency charging 0% commission and which aims to “mortally damage” high street agents.
A presentation to raise money from investors, seen by Eye, is entitled “Disrupting the estate agency market”.
The document reads like a character assassination of the profession and pulls no punches about how it views high street agents, claiming that the industry in which Hill spent 40 successful years is “archaic”.
It claims that agents have poor reputations, are “hugely” mistrusted by consumers, and have failed to innovate over the past 30 years.
It even criticises Countrywide itself, saying it has difficulties in “cross promotional efficiencies” because it operates through 46 separate brands.
It claims that, after industries such as travel and books have moved online, “the agency industry with a huge high street presence is next in the firing line”.
It says it will attack estate agents on both cost and service.
The plan detailed in the fund-raising document is to raise up to £2.75m through an offer of 1.52m shares at 178.3p for 25.6% of the company.
Although Sir Stelios is closely associated with easyProperty, he is named in the investors’ presentation document only as a “brand partner”.
The document states that the “easy” brand has 99% national awareness compared with 77% for Rightmove. Millions of easyJet customers are familiar, it says, with the brand whose values “extend to property – low cost, affordability, straight forward, hassle free, challenging the norm, for the masses, giving you more”.
Chief executive is estate agent Robert Ellice, while Chris Welch, who has a background in online poker businesses, is chief marketing officer, and Paul Ellerbeck, who has worked for FindaProperty and PrimeLocation, is chief technology officer.
Hill is identified as non-executive chairman, while Eachan Fletcher and Stuart Silberg are non-executive directors.
easyProperty is said to have been capitalised so far by its founders and management.
The fund-raising document explains how easyProperty will make its money despite charging zero commission – something which it says will “drive volume of traffic and simultaneously mortally damage the traditional high street agency model”.
The document says revenues will come from offering a menu of property services, and claims that there are 25 separate streams in lettings alone.
In a section titled “Cutting out the estate agent”, the document outlines how landlords will be able to list their own rental properties.
The initial focus will be on lettings, but the document makes it plain that after launching into this sector it will move into buying and selling, in its quest to disrupt “the expensive commission based high street agent model”.
The business also plans to roll out across Europe.
Robert Ellice told us: “We are a number of months away from launch so it’s all still rather early for specific comments from our side.”