Zoopla founder backs London student digs start-up


The founder of Zoopla knows a thing or two about property – and he thinks he’s spotted a winner with one London start-up hoping to revolutionise student accommodation.

Property website Zoopla, the UK’s second biggest, has quickly become a ‘must visit’ site for home buyers or sellers since launching in 2008. The site carries sale prices and value estimates for every single address in the UK.

Founder Alex Chesterman, who also co-founded LoveFilm, has now thrown his support behind another property website – UniPlaces.

The start-up acts like ‘AirBnB’ for student accommodation, allowing students to browse rental listings and acting as an intermediary for payments.

Launched in Lisbon last year, but now head quartered in Old Street, the site has over 6,000 properties in London and aims to be the first unified student housing search site.

Co-founder Ben Grech said: “As a booking site we verify every property listed on UniPlaces, create the listings ourselves and only send paid and confirmed bookings to our accommodation providers. We also intermediate the payment so it is 100% safe for tenants.

“As a result we are particularly popular amongst international students and others seeking to arrange mid-term accommodation prior to arriving in the city.”

Chesterman, Graze chairman William Reeve and Octopus Investments have together invested £700,000 in the business.

Grech said: “We are very happy to be working with such high quality investors who recognise the scale of the opportunity for UniPlaces.”


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