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The rental property sector is undoubtedly broken, and there are multiple problems that need to be addressed to make it more efficient and customer-centric. At the forefront of this issue is EVO, a digital property management solution founded to revolutionise the way landlords, tenants, and service professionals interact with rental properties.

EVO’s mission is to fix the £30bn property repairs, maintenance and compliance market using simple and engaging digital tools that build trust through transparency.

We had the opportunity to interview the founder of EVO to gain insight into their journey building the company and their vision for its future.

Tell us about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve?

EVO is making housing repairs easier, faster and fairer for everyone in the UK’s property rental sector. We’re on a mission to help millions of renters resolve repair issues quickly, and reduce the burden of unpredictable repair bills from landlords, blending beautifully simple technology with reliable service plans and 24/7 emergency response.

How has EVO evolved since its launch? When was this?

Mark (my Co-founder) and I launched EVO in 2018, and to be fair our first product was pretty clunky so it took time to convince our first customers to use us. I remember one of my first pitches, which was to a contact I knew that had just joined British Land. This was just after we were locked down due to Covid-19. They had recently completed an acquisition of a new portfolio of residential properties above retail units on a high street. I think I said something like, “you were already struggling in delivering your reactive repairs before Covid-19, and now that we’re in lockdown how are you proposing to deliver that service now? What do you have to lose trying out EVO?”

Roll-on to today, and British Land are in their 3rd year of renewal with EVO, we have saved them 60% of OPEX while automating 82% of their repairs – meaning that no human intervention was required for all their relatively minor repair issues – allowing them to be able to spend more time on the bigger issues at hand. It’s this part, the high volume, low cost, difficult to manage repairs, where we excel. We just take the hassle away.

Last year their property manager also spoke to Inside Housing (the number one trade magazine for the social housing sector) and credited EVO with improving their tenant retention by 30% due to a much improved tenant experience.

Property maintenance management in the UK is a £30Bn market, and growing, can you tell us about how EVO is working to capture this market and positioning itself for success?

Broadly speaking we have three routes to market:

1. Private landlords – tapping the latent demand

How we reach: trade shows, trade press, press, radio campaigns, direct marketing, thought leadership and strong social media presence.

Once this funding round has closed we’ll be working even more on our marketing to private landlords, bringing to life the benefits of EVO for them and their tenants. We already onboard new units every month through our existing lite touch marketing campaigns, and our expectation is that the number of units from private landlords will significantly ramp up throughout the summer.

Landlords are being inundated with a number of legislation changes and cost increases, and we are ensuring they know that EVO is a safe haven for them, saving them time, money and frustration. Every other solution seems to focus on reminding landlords not to forget this, and you must comply with that. EVO takes away the noise, and with our landlord’s compliance pack, which is available for a relatively small monthly fee, we can completely remove this major pain point.

2. Major lettings agents and aggregators

How we reach: trade shows, trade press, leveraging existing relationships, forging partnerships and client retention programmes

Discussions are already taking place to pilot EVO’s platform with a number of potential customers including major letting agents, insurance and BtL mortgage companies, as well as some of the new fractional ownership models being promoted.

3.Social housing providers and large-scale property investors

How we reach: tender frameworks, such as the South East Consortium, leveraging Capital Letters and Storm Housing partnerships, establishing sector specific case studies, thought leadership and building a trusted brand as well through trade shows and trade press.

Storm Housing and Capital Letters have already partnered with EVO. We won these partnerships on the strength of EVO’s mixed product and managed service offering, ahead of other pure SaaS solutions. Our hybrid approach is starting to pay dividends. We’ve just agreed pilots with a London based HA and a large London LA which are due to start in Q2 2023. Many further discussions are ongoing with social housing and other large scale housing providers across the affordable and shared ownership program.

What do you hope to achieve with this raise and why is it the right time for investment? 

This raise is super important to EVO, and will allow us to deliver on contracts already won together with the near term wins we anticipate to secure in the next few months. It’s all about commercialising our technology and managed service offering, and establishing case studies around delivering reduced OPEX and improved tenant experiences for HAs, LAs and other large property portfolio holders.

Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date? 

That’s an easy question, Capital Letters is EVO’s first major contract win in the public sector and as Capital Letters is a partnership with 20 London Boroughs this gives EVO’s business development efforts in the social housing sector a massive boost and from a revenue potential.

Per Capital Letters own business plan, they are seeking to bring more than 5,000 homes from the private sector into the social housing sector. When these targets are hit, this will mean annual recurring revenue for EVO of more than £3 million (ARR) – this is a game changing contract that EVO has already signed.

What do you love to do in your free time? 

My free time… that’s a little bit harder to answer 🙂

I love to travel and spend time in different parts of the world. Over the past 4 years I have been head down in building EVO and wearing many hats so travelling hasn’t always been as possible as I would have liked, however over the past few months as we have started growing the team I hope to be able to do that more, fortunately as so much of my role is digitally focussed I am able to do this anywhere in the world (within reason).

What has been the biggest challenge as an entrepreneur? What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Tough question, there is so much that I could talk about here. I think first and foremost you need to be incredibly passionate about why you’re doing it because it literally can take over your life. The biggest challenge I would say is that you learn really quickly as you hire people that you work for them, your team, and everyone is your boss. It’s not 9-5, building a business is hard, it’s all in, always on, all the time.

My advice to anyone wanting to go this route is firstly, make sure you surround yourself with good, reliable people. It sounds obvious but when things get tough (and they will) you need to be able to lean on those around you, and they will need to be able to lean on you. I would also recommend any founder that’s just starting out, or been doing this for a while to read these books…

  • Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss
  • Investable Entrepreneur by James Church
  • The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek (I literally worship this guy!)

If you weren’t building EVO, what do you think you’d be doing?

I really do not know, I’ve been doing this for over 4 years now so it’s pretty much all I think about. I’d imagine I would be working in tech with startups. My passion has always been being part of a team designing solutions that tackle the big problems, the ones that affect thousands if not millions of people, this is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far building EVO?

The standout for me is that there is such a lack of accountability and responsibility in the repairs and maintenance part of the housing sector, and that has caused an enormous lack of trust from everyone involved. Residents have been let down for too long, feel ignored and neglected and are sick of being passed from pillar to post. 

In a digital world, where nearly everything can be done online, the rental experience for tenants, landlords and service professionals is like going back in time. The realisation that whilst there is a plethora of “report a repair” portals, these do not get to the route of the problem. Information sharing is sporadic at best and home information is viewed as a nice to have – you have to start from this point.

EVO has been designed from the ground up to be an information and communications hub of clarity and transparency, where everyone involved in ensuring homes are healthy, safe and decent places to live, can collaborate effectively to solve problems.

EVO’s mission is to change the rental experience for the better and make the process of renting a property simple, easy, and transparent. Their innovative approach to digital property management is revolutionising the rental property sector, making it more customer-centric, efficient, and cost-effective.

Check out the campaign page.