[Advertisement feature by Raffle House]
This week we caught up with Benno Spencer, Founder & CEO of the prize competition website, Raffle House, which allows customers to have the chance to win incredible properties for just £5.
Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind Raffle House?
I was lucky to get on the property ladder when prices were far more reasonable than they are now, and being someone that has bought and sold property for a number of years, I’ve been amazed at how high prices have climbed. Owning a home for many is beyond a dream and I want to try and change that. I can’t solve the housing crisis, but I can give thousands of people a chance to own a mortgage free home, with Stamp Duty paid, for just a fiver while also promoting relevant charitable causes. We do this by donating 5% of our revenue to three homelessness charities.
To many it will sound too good to be true, is there a catch?
We’re a prize competition, which means that there is a requirement that a test of skill or knowledge as part of the process. What that means is, entrants must get the question right to get a valid ticket in any of our draws. But other than that, no, and our odds are hundreds of times better than many lotteries.
People understand and love the concept – and as a company we are able to consistently tap into the dual opportunities of the near £19 billion annual spend on lotteries, and people’s desire to own their own home – of which only 27% of our target demographic actually do.
We’ve already sold thousands of tickets and are on course to award our first prize soon after the competition closes on November 25.The winners really will walk away with a mortgage free property with the Stamp Duty paid for by us.
Can you tell us a bit about your expansion plans?
The first two years will be spent focusing on the UK market and building our brand here. We are aiming to launch holiday homes and all expenses paid getaways in year three. We are also in talks with a possible US partner to expand to the States, though it’s too early to say much more on that.
Why are you raising capital through crowdfunding?
Most property prize competitions fail because the founders have hoped that word-of-mouth will drive the hundreds of thousands of ticket sales required. And it doesn’t, for obvious reasons. We are raising solely to advertise the first competition, following which we will be self-sustaining and able to advertise future competitions – and the great thing is, at 78% funded, we can already do that so we’re on track to achieve our goals. Crowdfunding was an obvious choice for us because people love and appreciate our concept.
Can you tell us a bit about your own background?
I left university in 2008 with a degree in English and Classical Literature which, as you can imagine, set me up perfectly for a career in oil at Platts, a subsidiary of S&P Global. After eight years and becoming the Director for European, Mediterranean, Russian and West African Oil and Refined Oil Products Pricing, I left to start a dating app called type, which I self funded and worked on for about 2 years or so. All the while I kept my eye on the UK property market, buying, renovating and selling in London. I began working on Raffle House in early 2017. We incorporated six months later, when I was comfortable my plans could be accomplished and I could create a stable and profit generating business.
What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?
I truly love working, and starting your own company means there’s never a lack of work to do; the variety of tasks is energising and the complete accountability very motivating. It’s not at all glamorous and if it wasn’t for my dog, Peanut, I probably wouldn’t leave my desk; no job is too small and managing the various work-streams is a real pleasure. If I’m not in meetings building the business, I’m glued to my computer or phone morning to night, but I wouldn’t change it.
What advice would you give people who are eager to set up their own business?
Be prepared to roll up your sleeves, make mistakes and make sure you are able to bounce ideas of people – badger friends and family if you don’t have a co-founder with which to chat about plans and ideas. There’s no book that can tell you if you’re doing the right thing, but even hearing yourself ask a question can help distill an idea.
Where would you like to see Raffle House in a year’s time?
Our focus is to make Raffle House into the only property prize competition platform on anyone’s mind and lips; the future feels bright as the business seems on course to do just that. There’s a great deal more hard work to come but we’re in an incredibly strong position to achieve our goals.
If you’d like to ask Benno your own questions, you can do so via the discussion forum on the campaign page, where you can also find out more about how Raffle House will be bringing their exciting new product to market.
Investing in startups involves risks, including loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of dividends and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio. This blog post has been approved as a financial promotion by Seedrs Limited.