Manchester start-up promises to shake up student accommodation market

Simon Austin's picture
Housemates

A Manchester tech start-up is vowing to shake up the UK and international student accommodation market with the launch of an online student property platform.  

Housemates was founded by tech entrepreneur Lydia Jones and is backed by an experienced team from DEPT, Spareroom and Starling Bank. They claim their student accommodation marketplace will offer five times faster booking than its rivals.

Housemates is an end-to-end platform for students, landlords and student property operators that promises to bring transparency, efficiency and reassurance to the sector. 

It is now open for exclusive early access to property owners ahead of the 2021/22 academic year and students will be able to make bookings from October this year.

While it will initially cater for property owners and students studying in Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Edinburgh, London and Melbourne it is also rapidly expanding its supply across other cities in the UK and internationally.  

Jones said: “The student housing market is an area ripe for innovation and disruption. It’s 2020 and expectation when it comes to any online experience is high; we believe students deserve to be able to book accommodation in the same, hassle-free way they do holidays. 

“We’ve spoken to thousands of domestic and international students and it is clear that audiences generally found existing processes slow, out-dated and lacking in terms of both transparency and security.  International students in particular felt particularly vulnerable to being exploited by agents. 

“Using feedback loops with both students and landlords we’ve identified new ways to deliver a faster, easier and more secure way to book accommodation that meets the needs of all users. As we grow our community across the UK we will continue to innovate based on real-time, evolving feedback and adapt to consumer demand.

“The impact of Covid-19 hasn’t slowed our development of the platform, but we have taken into consideration the needs of students travelling from overseas to study in the UK to ensure we cater for changes in post-lockdown booking behaviour. 

“Our whole approach and ethos is to build our product in a customer-centric way, and we’re looking to work with more like-minded forward-thinking purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) operators and individual landlords as we expand.”   

Housemates is continuing to grow its team, attracting talent from proptech, fintech and agency backgrounds who are now delivering a product roadmap.