Online agent Doorsteps returns to crowdfunding as it says high street is dying

Doorsteps, the online agent founded by Akshay Ruparelia when he was still a teenager, has gone back to Crowdcube for a second round of fundraising where the company is said to be valued at £18m.

Last year he raised over £500,000, quoting the same valuation.

This time his target was £400,000 which by early yesterday evening had been easily exceeded with 216 investors chipping in very nearly £600,000.

The latest fundraising campaign went live on Monday and still has 28 days still to go. With its initial target of £400,000, 3.22% of equity was being offered in the business.

The largest investment so far has been £200,000, and by just after 5pm yesterday it had raised a further £11,490 during the day.

The pitch claims that “the high street is dying”. It says that by December last year, 24.1% of all non-food shopping was done online and that “estate agents are central to that decimation. Countrywide, for example, closed 200 branches last year.”

The pitch says that Doorsteps wants to be the “go-to place to sell your home” and that its goal is to become the largest and “best serving” estate agent in Britain.

Doorsteps, which charges from £99, says it is currently listing over 2,000 properties and that it has become the tenth largest estate agent in the UK, without a penny spent on advertising.

Crediting word of mouth for its growth, it says that when people save £5,000 on their property sale “they DO tell others”.

In questions and answers on the Crowdcube site, Ruparelia – still only 20 – makes it clear that his firm makes more than £99 per listing, and on average brings in revenue of £250 per property through up-sells. It appears it wants to double this to £500.

Doorsteps says it intends to use the latest funds for recruitment purposes, saying: “We’ll use funds raised to hire key personnel to provide higher value services and cope with current levels of demand.

“We are aiming for a 1.9% share of the UK market this year. We also aim to double the average revenue per customer.”

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28 Comments

  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    Lol…they return to funding, but yet the high street is dying.

    Doorsteps RIP.

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    1. WestMidsValuer97

      Ha….how very true.
      RIP

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      1. dutchy

        High St appears to be dying too when you add in lettings fee ban and low transactions.

        Unbelievable that a behemoth like Countrywide is in the mess it’s in.

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  2. GPL

    Sometimes things just seem “odd” to me.

    With one “Investor” pledging £200,000?

    This seems “odd” to me.

    Worth digging a little deeper in my view, just to understand what is going on in this particular scenario.

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    1. MarkRowe

      Hi @GPL,

      It was an early stage backer from last year – Julian Mylchreest, of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch apparently he has decided to ‘invest further’…

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  3. ArthurHouse02

    34%, this is the amount of property (according to Zoopla) that they currently have sold STC. So word of mouth more likely is going to be “Doorsteps were unable to sell my property, so i wasted £250 – £500”

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  4. Harree Is Back

    All this latest round of crowdfunding shows is that a fool and his money are easily parted.

    All the rest is fluff and baloney.

     

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  5. Ostrich17

    These online chaps certainly know how to burn cash !

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    1. dutchy

      That they do.And even more unbelievably ,people are queuing up to lend them money.Strange times.

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  6. WestMidsValuer97

    Oh dear….here we go again.

    Another complete idiot with absolutely no experience who thinks he can revolutionise the industry. The sheer fact that you have a business that is apparently valued at £18m yet has to through another round of crowdfunding should surely tell you of it’s failings?!?!

    It’s ludicrous to think you can sell a home for just £99 or even the next tier package they offer (which I imagine most of his clients use) and even more ludicrous is the idiot vendor who thinks these inexperienced people are good enough to value and ultimately proceed a sale with their most valuable asset.

    Just another attempt at slamming the industry from a muppet with no experience. Hats off to the kid for trying but what a load of boll***s. I’d laugh beyond control if my estate agent came to value my house and was dropped off by a family member too (watch his interview on This Morning) what a joke.

    Next

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    1. NotAdoctor32

      I agree with a lot of what you are saying but he clearly is not an idiot.  He is an extremely sharp and articulate lad who has managed to create a business that people are ploughing money into.

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      1. WestMidsValuer97

        The implication of him being an idiot is based on the fact he makes ridiculous comments about the High Street Agency/Traditional model dying a death….complete rubbish given the share of the market held by online agents is still less than 10% and not growing at any worrying rate at all given the amount of people attempting and failing at this business model.

        Inexperienced fool if you ask me. Just another warrior jumping on the bandwagon slagging off experienced high street agents who actually provide a superior service in most cases (not all)

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    2. Simonr6608

      It’s ludicrous to think you can sell a home for just £99 or even the next tier package they offer (which I imagine most of his clients use) and even more ludicrous is the idiot vendor who thinks these inexperienced people are good enough to value and ultimately proceed a sale with their most valuable asset.

       

      You will probably find the majority of vendors also get a market appraisal done by their local high street agent and then instruct Doorsteps or which ever other online option to use that figure as a marketing price. Maybe the high street should start charging for appraisals and then deduct from the fee when instructed.

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  7. J1

    He should re-brand this company Pickpockets

    Clearly the ambition here is to take money from  naive investors for this vanity project.  What happens if it all goes wrong?

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  8. AgentV

    Another few hundred sales being subsidised by investors money!

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  9. PepeM

    You only have to look at current instruction levels to realise that without this continued additional fundraising this business is not viable. Much the same can be said for the majority of onliners, including Emoov and Tepilo.

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  10. Property Paddy

    I’ll chip in £1.50

    whats it for again?

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  11. Property Pundit

    I’ve seen a number of developers using this outfit for one good reason: access to Rightmove. Pretty shrewd IMHO.

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  12. GPL

    So, the £500,000 that this chap raised last year, to presumably invest in his business, what did he do with it?

    If he valued his business at £18 Million last year, and raised £500,000, and then revalues his business (after that £500,000 investment) at the same value a year later, to raise another £400,000…. what did he do with the £500,000?

    I’m interested to know exactly where he spent that £500,000 investment?

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    1. AgentV

      Subsidising what he is doing by paying the overheads and his wages, I would guess.

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    2. WestMidsValuer97

      P*****g it up the wall…for want of a better phrase!

      Just another money pit – much like EweMove, Tepilo and that disaster, Hatched.

      The kids got balls asking for all that money, the investors are clueless about the industry though – failure pending.

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  13. gardenflat

    Another time bomb.

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  14. GPL

    I’m struggling to actually make sense of  this chap’s accounts at Companies House, just to understand how his business is performing financially.

    I’m trying to look beyond daft quotes like this which he made in Oct 2017/Daily Mail….

    ”Why give an estate agent a small fortune just for putting photos of your house on the internet?”

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    1. WestMidsValuer97

      Because this is the outside perspective of an agent unless you have actually had to sell/buy a property….given that he is a child and has absolutely no experience in this industry (or life for that matter!) he is trying his best to jump on the purplebricks wave that unfortunately is still going – but not for too long, their instruction rates are abysmal at best so the model is simply not sustainable. Money for nothing.

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  15. MarkRowe

    No joke… if you invest £25k or more they are offering a free beach fronted villa stay for a week in Gran Canaria…

    Invest £10,000+ and enjoy a free dinner ‘up the shard’ with the founders of Doorsteps..

    Honestly, I’m speechless…

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  16. PeeBee

    Prima facie evidence that crowdfunders don’t dig deeply into which wall they are wazzing their money up against.

    Matey-boy took them for a cool half-mill a year ago.  Looks like it’s spent – I’m sure that the portals won’t be giving him anything on chucky and whilst it’s a knocking bet that none of the distrusters will be shelling out monthly subs for anywhere near the 3500 activity centres (credit: Robert May) that they allege to cover, they’ll still be tipping a chunk of wonga into the portal pots.  Add to that whatever pittance they are paying the people on the ground (assuming they have any…), and of course keeping Mr Ruparelia in a comfortable lifestyle with a salary which he was last quoted as amounting to a grand a month – which of course means that’s the first dozen of the company’s listings spoken for.

    Now the hat is back out asking for almost the same again.  And looks like people have been prepared to give it.  Not a squeak from any of them apparently as wanting to know where the last wedge went?

    That is, until you read the comments on the Q&A section of the NumptyFund pitch.  Some rather scathing posts there – and a couple of very interesting ones from Mr Ruparelia.

    I, for one, would be interested to know which statistics he could chuck at us to back up his statement

    “Purplebricks have a market share of circa 4-5%. We are on track to hit 2% this year, having taken 1% last year”

    #To_You, Mr Ruparelia

    TO YOU.

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  17. simpletruth47

    Based on an old investing joke but:

    Q: How do you make a small fortune in online estate agency?

    A: Start with a large fortune

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    1. canaddup

      Recent story in the Sun states he has sold over £100 million of property in a year at say an average price of £233,000 so approx 429 properties commission at between £99 and £599 say average £300 total revenue with no expenses whatsoever is £128,000 divided by the 12 people employed not even minimum wage and the company valued at £12 million

      I can add up multiply and divide but this does not add up.

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