Interview: Boomin MD tells agents ‘we don’t consider ourselves to be a portal’

Athena Hubble
Athena Hubble

Former Zoopla commercial director Athena Hubble, who has a strong track record working with digital businesses, was appointed as Boomin’s managing director in June 2021.

Hubble, who spent 12 years at Zoopla, as part of the property portal’s original team, before moving to Carwow, has taken time out of her busy schedule to talk exclusively to EYE in this two-part interview about Boomin’s growth strategy, plans to engage with more agents across the UK, and ultimately win more business.


Q:  Boomin officially launched eight months ago aiming to gain a significant share of the homebuyer audience, but how does the portal plan to challenge the dominance of Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket?

We are not focused on challenging the portals. We don’t consider ourselves to be a portal, a classified advertising site, that displays lists of properties and sends as many emails as possible to agents hoping they transform into business. We think about things differently.  We think about agents, agency, experiences and quality and how we can positively support agents with unique quality business and help them to create long term relationships with their customers.

Portals have taken a lot of the agency out of agency. They have taken the majority of people who were engaging with agents directly on a daily basis, phoning in or coming into the branch, away from agents and stored them in a database in the cloud, whereas in the past agents would register them all and use their skills to bring them into the market, find them what they are looking for and start to build a relationship.

So we are different. We are about creating innovative technology for agents that sets us apart. Features that create more quality business, increase transactions, get Agents engaging with everyone who is in market now as well as those who could be encouraged into the market and who can step in and save transactions. In the meantime we will look after the passive audience, engage them, entertain them, build their knowledge and awareness of their local market, agents, trends, styles and encourage them to move from passive to active. The brand awareness and profile of agents to their local audiences will move to a whole new level.

We have a job to do though to show agents clearly the power of our features and what they can unlock with them. Those who are using them to the fullest are making big gains. We will set ourselves apart from classified advertising for agents and consumers.


Q:  Having spent the majority of your career at Zoopla, where you formed part of the original team in the role of commercial director, how do you think Boomin compares?

I get excited by being at the forefront of a business that is setting out to be transformative.   I have had the privilege of working with some amazingly successful visionary entrepreneurs and therefore I loved those early days at Zoopla.

Whilst Michael [Bruce of Boomin] and Alex [Chesterman, formerly of Zoopla] share the same passion to transform the property market the opportunity to build the technology from the ground up in an integrated way with all the learnings and advancements of the last 20 years and the substantial ground floor industry experience across our business sets Boomin apart. The quality of the people in all disciplines across Boomin is nothing less than remarkable for a business so early in their journey.

One of the key differences is that Boomin is delivering the next generation digital property marketplace. It is not a classified advertising property portal, Boomin is innovating for agents on the ground, the people doing the job, professional people who want the best innovation has to offer to make them more successful and deliver a lasting experience for their customers and their brand. It is not just about advertising or another banner, it is about bringing back the very best and most successful methods of Agency in a digital world in a way that people want to engage with and how agents want to work.

Boomin is also not just a property search. It is a place for anyone interested in property, to get inspired, to connect with professionals, create personalised content and mood boards, to shop, to improve and manage homes. A virtual universe where you can find much more of what you need, at any stage of your property journey.

Boomin thinks differently and is building diverse revenue streams from which it can reward its members and deliver a wholly different experience  for everyone interested in property. Consumers see more, get ahead of the game, can tailor their search, save time and connect early with their local agents and be encouraged into the market.

It’s exciting to be part of the next wave of transformation and it’s definitely time to deliver more for consumers and agents.


Q:  Boomin has undoubtedly increased competition and choice in the portals landscape, but how has it been received by agents and consumers alike?

Our agent partners have been great. We launched in a pandemic, a time that started with uncertainty for agents and then turned into one of busiest periods for a decade. As you would expect it has taken time for agents to get to know Boomin, the features and to build up confidence and trust. As agents have got to know the features we have created, the problems they are solving for them and the power of what they can do they have started to embrace Boomin in a bigger way,  They have been able to see that we are not a fourth portal but an integrated toolbox of features that bring back the power and principles of good old estate agency, maximising opportunity, creating new activity and building successful profitable relationships.

We are also delighted by how consumers have responded to Boomin.  We are reaching millions by growing unique and returning visits every month and the feedback has been fantastic.  We are already leading on Trustpilot because consumers love the power of what the features do for them, giving them more accurate valuations, getting them engaged with agents, creating thousands of off-market activity, saving transactions and providing them with much more interesting and inspiring content on a fresh and uncluttered site. The innovations we have coming will continue to bring agents and consumers together, making the experience better for everyone.

Listening to Agent feedback has been invaluable. We created SmartVal and ChainMaker with the input of agents and are building and releasing version two of other features with the help of agents. Michael and Kenny speak directly to many of our agents and are always available to listen to ideas and ways we can help support them more.

Overwhelmingly agents have loved our ambitions and our features and many are adopting new ways of working to maximise their performance.


Q:  How many agency branches are now listing properties on the platform?

We have to date signed just shy of 8,000 agency branches and we continue to grow month-on-month. To put this in context it took the property portals between five and six years to achieve the same numbers.


Q:  How many of those agents do you expect to retain once your firm starts charging to list properties on the portal?

We do not consider ourselves to be a fourth portal.  We are about helping agents generate more quality business through innovative technology. We need to demonstrate to agents that everything we offer is worth the cost of between one to two transactions a year per branch.  We offer considerably more features than anyone else in the market, have invested more in technology that is generating unique business for agents and with other innovations coming to drive mortgage business, landlord opportunities, ancillary revenues, etc, all included for one fee we are confident that agents who see the power of what can be achieved using Boomin will see the investment as excellent value for money. When agents engage, the results are supercharged and self-fulfilling.

Our members can see we are investing heavily in our marketing, delivering quickly on features, improvements and new innovations and can see performance is growing week-on-week. Each feature alone can deliver much more than the annual investment. We have seven simple to use integrated features included with every membership with more coming soon.

It is our job now to get agents fully conversant with the power of what we offer and get them making the most of them. When they do we believe they will be happy to pay for a highly profitable technology partnership.


Q:  How much will it cost to list properties on Boomin?

I suppose the question is how much will it cost to get access to all the features that Boomin offers that generate business for agents.  Listing of properties is only one small aspect of what we offer agents.

Our rates for sales are either £300 or £400 per month and for lettings £150 or £250 standalone. For sales and lettings combined it is either £399 or £499. We do not do packages, add ons, boosters etc because everything we have created is intended to drive maximum business for agents from each single interaction.

We are driving towards a highly profitable partnership with agents that maximise the potential of the features we offer.


Q:  Several agents have voiced their discontent at the low number of leads they have received from Boomin so far. Do you accept that there is room for improvement?


You will be able to read the answer to this question, plus others we put to Hubble, including whether the Bruce brothers’ involvement in the portal is a ‘positive’ thing, during the second part of this interview – to be published tomorrow.



Email the story to a friend


  1. PepeM

    Boomin ?! Who ? What ? Why ? Goodbye !

  2. Diogenes

    Q: When will we start getting some leads?

  3. Property Ear

    Hubble bubble, toil and trouble! Boomed, sorry doomed to fail. Yes, negative, but having been derided by Bruce, who would have put me out of business if he could, for a number of years, can’t take this seriously.

  4. jeremy1960

    The King’s new clothes all over again. 8,000 agents in there for free, a different story once payment is required? Not a single lead has come our way….

  5. Commenttrawler

    I’m still none the wiser on what Boomin does

  6. Lee245245

    What a load of nonsense. I don’t think Athena actually knows her own business model. 
    Athena says “Portals have taken a lot of the agency out of agency”
    Boomin has taken it further away than ever before! To send an enquiry via Boomin is an exhausting and tiring process and I’ve spoken to many an applicant who has simply given up. Surely, the process of getting ones details sent to the actual estate agency should be as easy possible. We want to attract people to send their details to us, not deter them. I want my team to qualify the applicant, not some bot at Boomin!
    And as for the instant valuation that self destructs in 15 minutes….It’s laughable.
    I could perhaps get my ahead around it if I had received more than 5 enquires in the last several months, but I haven’t and the 5 leads I have received are extremely poor quality.
    Booming are trying to reinvent the wheel. A complete disaster of a start-up and as soon as they want to charge me a single penny, i’ll be off.

  7. Robert_May

    “Like a portal but not a portal” -welcome to my world.  As we  were going into lockdown 1 in March 2020 there was a consensus [by those in the space at the time] for aggregating  property listing platforms that work differently to a property portal.

    The duopoly portals exists for themselves, a few  good key agents, a lot of portal reliant agents and passive intermediaries and a  set of portal reliant service suppliers. On that basis portals work against most agents who are either subsidising their competition being on the portal or are sharing commercially sensitive data that  allows the low level competition to exist.  Sensitive dead file data  especially price data is the key to  agency; what’s going on. Without that information many agents and most passive intermediary listers could not exist.


    A property search platform  (PSP) that exists  primarily as a service  and benefit to individual agents rather than itself is the logical evolution of portals. So that is what Boomin is; a #PSP not a portal


  8. Cheesybiscuits

    I think that portals are on the decline as agents realise the value of the data they hold. Of all the portals, Boomin’ seems to be the most pointless.

  9. Another Agent

    There’ s a saying that if it quacks like a duck it is a duck and Boomin quacks loud n clear as just another ‘me too’ portal. The solid proof of its efficacy will be in the number of paid subscribers once the freemium period ends and with stock levels down and the main portals increasing fees, most agents will likely stick with the devil they know. It’s all about leads and the general consensus is that they aint delivering. OTM have just rebranded and this is what Boomin are going to be up against to see who gets to stand on third spot on the paid portal podium. Next year is gonna be more nail biting than the Abu Dhabi grand prix.

  10. AndSotheStoryBegan

    If they’re not a portal, they offer nothing that any agency couldn’t do for themselves, but without the competition. There’s very little value in moving from one paid platform where the agency has zero control, to another. Own the media if you can,  earn it if you can’t.

  11. AgencyInsider

    It is laudable that they are trying to be different but fundamentally they have to have sales/lettings stock advertised because that inventory is the peg they hang all the other bits and pieces on. They are clearly betting they can make a viable business of those bits and pieces.

    Just for a moment assuming that the public like those bits (frankly, I don’t see it) then how long do you think it will take for Rightmove, with its hugely deeper pockets and an already entrenched brand, to bolt those other bits onto their own portal and swat Boomin like it was an irritating fly?

  12. AgentQ73

    In my opinion Boomin is not about building a viable long term business, its about getting it to a point they can float it and the founders can walk away.

    1. Another Agent

      I agree, but I think they will be less likely to get that big payday given the debacle with PB etc. Investors would be much more wary, but then again, there’s always some mug who wants to spank a few quid on a gamble.

      1. AgentQ73

        You would think so but for some inexplicable reason there are apparently 8,000 branches worth of Estate Agents who thought it would be a good idea to support them……

        1. Another Agent

          As we know estate agents will take anything for free and with 12 moths free exposure and trial, why not. Turning 8000 agents into 8000 paying customers is an altogether different proposition. If they had gone out asking for a paid sub from the get go that 8000 would likely be closer to 8 methinks.

    2. Lee245245

      Boomin will never get big. It’s doomed for failure. I’ve not met one agent yet who will stay once proper fee’s come in.

  13. AgentQ73

    Given the promises that were apparently made about income for agents from the Property Playground I assume everyone who signed up is getting a steady stream of cheques ?????


  14. Mothers Ruin

    Words words words meaningless words.

    Boomin(g) – ‘having a period of great prosperity or rapid economic growth’ or ‘loud deep and resonant voice’

    I couldn’t care less how loud they shout when the trust has gone it’s gone and I will never get into bed with a Bruce after what they did to us.

  15. Quags

    Ugh, I get hounded by them all the time trying to get me to sign up, this was the latest:


    “I wondered if you might like to use Boomin’s completely free trial with no obligation until 1st April 2022?

    We are about to launch our third TV campaign in December, and have another £52m to spend on marketing”


    “Another £52m” as if that should impress/be a reason to.

    1. Another Agent

      Imagine what £52m could do in the hands of really smart people, not just a ‘me too’. If the offering was that great then £52m spent on marketing would not be necessary. Wasted on a bunch of marketing concepts no-one will remember once the annoying commercials are over….and I was out making a cup of tea anyway so missed em.

  16. Eagle60

    Is any agent truly foolish enough to believe Bruce wants what’s best for agents after the slander campaign the now failing Purplebricks ran?

    He’ll soon back out of this failing model also, quids in personally, but leaving shareholders and those agents signed up with the proverbial left in their hands.



You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.