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Startup Showcase: Nested

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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CEO and co-founder of Nested, Matt Robinson talks about proptech, selling houses and starting his first business at the age of 16

What is your company and what do you do?
Nested is an ambitious new company founded in 2015 to help homeowners sell their houses at a time when it has never been harder to sell a property in the UK. The Nested service offers to sell a house within 90 days, or lend the seller the money for their next house purchase interest-free.

Selling a home is widely regarded as one of the most stressful experiences in life, second only to going through a divorce! If we can help make people’s second most stressful life experience a little less stressful, then we are doing a great job.

I set up the business with other successful serial entrepreneur, Phil Cowans, the former CTO of Songkick, and James Turford, who originally trained as an architect at Aedas before moving to McKinsey & Co and then private equity firm PEP. The business is funded by some of Europe’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors: the team has already raised £3m from Passion Capital, Indeed founder Paul Forster, and self-made billionaire brothers Oliver and Alex Samwer.

Tell us a bit about your career to date
house prices ©ttatty/shutterstock.comBefore Nested, I co-founded a company called GoCardless, one of Europe’s leading recurring payment providers. I’m still a Board director at the business, which continues to grow fast and collects billions of pounds a year for companies like the FT and Box.

Before that I was a management consultant at the prestigious consultancy firm, McKinsey and Co. I had my first business at the age of 16, supplying waiters and bar staff to corporate and private events, which helped fund my Law Degree at Oxford University.

What services or products do you offer and how will businesses and/or consumers benefit?
Nested takes the stress and time out of the whole house selling process. The property chain and selling process is fundamentally broken, with sellers sick of lawyers, estate agents, and being let down by buyers. With so much time and effort wasted on the sales process, we set out to solve the problems that trap sellers in a lengthy sales chain and with no guarantee of a sale at the end of it.

Homeowners can use Nested to get a free instant valuation for their property. If they are interested in selling their home, they can also use us to get a same-day offer on it. Properties sold using Nested are guaranteed from day one and sellers will have the funds for their next purchase in 90 days, whether it is sold or not, putting them in the best possible position to purchase their next property chain-free.

Say one thing your company does that no one else can do?
We help customers to sell their properties just like an estate agent does, but with one big difference. With Nested the customer is guaranteed a sale price from day one, whereas with an estate agent they don’t know how much they will get or how long the process will take.

Where is the company based and why?
Kings Cross Railway Station ConcourseWe are based in London in the heart of Kings Cross. Our service is currently available to London homeowners only, so it makes sense for us to be based here. But also most of our main investors are here and we are located in the heart of the fintech and hopefully proptech powerhouse.

How big is your company and what are your technology demands?
Currently as a startup we are quite small, but already growing. As a ‘proptech’ company we rely on technology to deliver our service. We use smart valuation and process management technology on the Nested.com website, which allows sellers to get a property valuation within minutes. Thanks to our unique valuation algorithm and processes, we can then guarantee the customer fair market value, unlike traditional home buying companies in the distressed house sale industry.

Where do you see your company in five years?
As one of the UK’s leading estate agents, having revolutionised the way that agents treat their clients, offering honest, impartial advice and giving a fantastic service.

How can the UK government help startups in the UK and will Brexit have any impact?
Practically, I think EIS and SEIS are fantastic schemes, which should be continued. Philosophically, the biggest thing would be to help encourage a public perception that it is OK to fail, what is not OK is to not try. Brexit is a huge negative for any company with international aspirations.

Which tech company do you admire and why?
Amazon. For their relentless execution, long-term approach and commitment to what they think their customers truly want: lower prices, more convenience and great service.  Just read Jeff Bezos’ 1997 letter to shareholders.

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