When investing, your capital is at risk.
Zibble has recognised an opportunity to revolutionise a growing industry still relying on old practices.
A higher demand for rental homes is proof that they’re positioning themselves for a market which will eventually have more renters than homeowners. This is due to sharp rises in property prices, and other factors like inflation, which make it hard for people to own a home.
With more tenants looking to rent on a long term basis, Zibble has built a technology-backed platform ensuring a smooth sailing process for tenants and landlords.
In this interview, Arjun Dublish and Abrar Nurani, co-founders of Zibble, give us an insight into their business, the vision for the future and what they plan to do with the capital they’re currently raising on Seedrs.
We’d love to know about your careers before Zibble and where you both first found that entrepreneurial spark.
Arjun Dublish (AD): Growing up in a household where my dad was an entrepreneur, I have always been fascinated by creating something from scratch, creating value and opportunities which are much wider than yourself. After finishing university, I got an investment banking job. However, even in my role, I was very entrepreneurial and always looked for creative ways to solve problems for my employer. I started a real estate company a few years ago as a side hustle. I was able to scale and run it profitably in the service accommodation sector and it’s still running profitably. This venture gave me first hand experience and insights into the issue of rentals and how digital transformation can be applied to this sector. As well as how to create a mutually beneficial value chain. This has been the inspiration for Zibble.
Abrar Nurani (AN) – As a teenager, I was always interested in the market and financial trading; I recall spending hours reading up on famous business people. This naturally led to me starting my career as an Oil Trader after graduating, where I’ve been fortunate to live in many different parts of the world. Over this period, I’ve had the pleasure of building out new businesses and developing new relationships in what is often a murky world. A world which doesn’t provide equal access to smaller players. At the same time, I felt the burdens of relocating first hand; having to deal with finding and maintaining the properties I was renting. It is in this light, I figured I could take my experience in the oil market and in building marketplaces, to create a lasting impact in the long-term renting space.
What is Zibble and what problem are you solving?
Zibble aims to be the ‘Airbnb’ for long term renting. We help users find and make offers on properties for long term renting. After moving in, we help our tenants log maintenance requests. This is all processed through our proprietary tech platform, which makes us cheaper and quicker than competitors.
Zibble was inspired by our personal struggles dealing with long term rentals. For me, it was a challenge to find and on-board suitable tenants. On the other hand, Abrar has had to relocate often due to the nature of his work and found it extremely burdensome dealing with agents, finding the right properties and managing maintenance issues. As our combined expertise covers property investing, construction, prop-tech and maintenance, we felt we had a solid understanding of the various pinch-points in this space.
The UK rental market is expected to grow by 122% over the next 10 years. What does this tell us about the market and how is Zibble positioning themselves for success?
It’s rare to find a market growing so quickly but yet so slow at integrating new technologies. Zibble’s excited about disrupting this expanding market.
Over 24% of Brits rent through private Landlords (growing to 40% in the next 10 years), and most use traditional estate agents to find their rental property. Unfortunately, the renting process through estate agents is extremely cumbersome. They also charge a stupendous amount in fees, which ultimately makes rents higher.
Zibble leverages on its technology to make the process of renting easier. You can find properties, make offers and undergo reference checks instantly through our platform. After moving into a property, Zibble facilitates an easy dialogue between Landlords and Tenants for maintenance requests.
As Zibble doesn’t have the same fixed cost burden as traditional offerings, we can pass on cost savings to tenants. Meanwhile, our in-house credit referencing algorithms give Landlords assurance that they are getting reliable long term renters. The best thing about this is that we can scale quickly, at minimal cost and in a growing market; meaning we can facilitate more rentals and happier customers.
What does your competitive landscape look like and how does Zibble differentiate itself?
We have three main competitors:
‘High Street’ Estate Agents (Foxtons, KFH)
They are responsible for finding and on-boarding long term tenants, and then charge additional fees for property management. As they rely almost exclusively on in-person solutions (e.g. physical viewings), they are the costliest and least efficient platform.
Online Estate Agents (Openrent)
These have seen increased adoption in the UK but are primarily focused on Property Listings/Marketing and not on Property Management & Maintenance. This inevitably means these businesses focus on churning more users as opposed to keeping users on their platform in the long run.
Build-to-Rent Developers (Barratts Developments)
Some Property Developers have their own purpose-built platforms where tenants can pay rents and log maintenance requests. However, these platforms are unique to the developer (the quality of these platforms varies based on which developer you rent from) and are still archaic.
Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date?
- Created an MVP with no external funding
- Built a high quality technology development team in-house
- Generated revenue with zero spend on marketing
- Achieved an NPS score of 100 with repeat customers
How do you plan to create a scalable and profitable business model?
Unit economics: We hope to achieve profitable unit economics in the next six months. Our platform is able to handle significantly more properties than this.
Customer satisfaction: We want to build a brand around Zibble so that renters choose to rent through Zibble because they know it will be a smoother process. This then encourages more Landlords to go through Zibble, as they know it increases their chances of having their property let. So we focus on testimonials, constant monitoring of tenancies and insure high calibre of landlords
Technology: The future of this industry is in smart technology. We plan to scale our existing technology to help users make better decisions.
What do you plan to do with the money you raise?
We want to be targeted in our marketing efforts, as we scale our platform. As a result, we’ll onboard more properties and generate more revenues to feed back into the business.
With the additional scale, we need to ensure we can handle more inquiries. This looks like hiring an Operations Associate so we can seamlessly onboard more users. In addition, we want to reduce the time to market new features as we continue to build out the Zibble tech. In order to do this, we plan to hire a Front End Developer.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Abrar runs a blog where he loves to write about new investment ideas and thematic pieces on entrepreneurship and business.
Arjun enjoys reading non fiction, maintaining a fitness regime, catching up with friends and trying out new places in Central London.
If you weren’t building Zibble, what do you think you’d be doing?
AD: I would most likely be working on another venture, perhaps in fintech. I am obsessed with commercial activity so would likely be involved in an entrepreneurial venture regardless of the industry.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve both learnt so far building Zibble?
When building a start up and coming from a financial background, it’s easy to be solely focused on key financial metrics. However, as we’ve scaled the business, we realise that we are having a tangible impact on people’s lives. We have a duty to take care of them as they trust us with such an important financial decision in their lives.
Having an appreciation for this not only makes it more pleasant to run Zibble (especially when we get positive feedback from our users), but it also cements a stronger and longer lasting relationship with our users; feeding through to our bottom line.
Zibble’s approach to long-term renting is refreshing and for once, considers both the tenants and landlord. Their currenting fundraising round is a great opportunity to tap into a growing market within real estate. Visit their campaign page here to learn more.