Co-living for every generation; homes with hotel services, thriving communities and a digital platform.
- London, United Kingdom
Categories: Property Mixed Digital/Non-Digital Mixed B2B/B2C
- Social Media
- Company number
- Incorporation date
- 3 Oct 2015
- Investment sought:
- Equity offered:
Society provides co-living for every generation. We will manage large apartment buildings that have been built for rent (minimum of 100 apartments), backed by institutional developers.
The number of people renting in the UK is set to explode in the coming years as more and more of us cannot afford to get on the housing ladder. However, it is a sector that has a very poor reputation.
Our aim is to create homes you don't have to buy, with the lifestyle services of a hotel, flourishing communities, and a seamless digital platform.
We want to reimagine traditional lettings through the curation of a community membership and deliver a seamless digital platform that connects our members, increases revenue, improves service, reduces voids and supports long term renewals.
For the building owner we advise on the design and operation during the planning / construction phase. Once the building is complete we will rent the apartments and manage all aspects of the operation from concierge, finance and cleaning.
We believe that Society is poised to take advantage of some significant market factors:
Consumer: The number of UK renters between the ages of 25-34 has almost doubled in the last decade. 40% of the population rent in the US and Germany compared to almost 20% in the UK.
Finance: Knight Frank found the level of investment in BTR will grow from £25bn in 2017 to £70bn in 2022 as pension funds and other investors race to pour money into purpose built blocks of homes for rent.
Social: we believe technology, the shared economy, service expectations and the transient nature of people’s lives means that the residential sector needs to dramatically transform to meet consumer demands.
Society intends to:
- Create communities to improve our members' lives.
- Offer exceptional hospitality service at home.
- Use technology to make life easier and drive additional income to owners.
- Create buildings for all incomes and generations with community at their heart.
- Offer flexibility and security with short or long term contracts.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Strong Management Team:
The Co-Founders' previous experience as hoteliers covers nearly every aspect of the industry from operations, branding, acquisitions, digital, sales, marketing and design and construction. They most recently founded Yotel which was a pioneer of the micro hotel sector and dubbed the "Ipod of the hotel industry". The team includes partners with experience in the residential (Foxtons) and digital (Rightmove) sectors.
Society is in final negotiations to sign its first community for the iconic Manhattan Loft Gardens in Stratford which opens in July 2018. The development will include 248 apartments, 145 room hotel, sky gardens and two restaurant / bar areas. Upon successful completion of the deal, Society will manage and let the residential portion.
Society is also advising on two other projects across the UK with over 2,100 apartments in the pipeline. It is our goal to convert these to management agreements for Society.
We have scoped and built a prototype for our digital platform which we believe is unique within the rental residential sector.
Having sold his home to launch Yotel, the CEO reinvested funds from Yotel to launch Society with a total of £110,000. In addition, Society has raised approximately £600,000 from a mixture of high profile digital, property, leisure, consumer and residential industry investors.
Gerard has recently given a TEDx talk: Society: Building Flourishing Co Living Communities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTvfsJTjSDI
Society has three main strategies for monetisation:
1) We charge developers of apartment buildings during the pre planning / construction phase a Technical Service / Mobilisation Fee. For one of our projects we have received fees of c. £900 per apartment (£158,000), and for another we have received £50k for the project.
2) When the apartments are operational, we intend to charge a Management Fee which is between 4%-7% of total revenue; this is split between % of total revenue and % of profit for the building (approximately 50:50). We expect that contract length will be typically 5 years.
3) We intend to license a "white label" version of the digital software to other rental buildings. The software will drive additional revenue by providing additional services for the members. We are targeting a fee of £2 per apartment per month and revenue share of 10% of the additional revenue generated through the software.
Use of proceeds
We have three main objectives for our next phase:
1) Continue to service the contracts we have with developers which includes advice and implementation on design, lettings, branding, operations etc;
2) Develop the proprietary digital platform;
3) Sign additional management contracts with developers.
Breakdown of Use of Funds (Sept 17 - July 18):
Salaries (excluding digital) 33%.
Digital / Marketing 40%.
Central Office 14%.
Finance / Admin 12%.
Please note that Society is receiving income from Technical Service contracts as well as raising funds.
Society operates in the burgeoning Build to Rent (BTR) sector and has two main target markets:
1) Members / Renters (B2C) - Society intends to operate across all price points and age groups and we believe will have mass appeal. Its target members share the following:
• Busy, sociable and living for the moment, with little time for “life admin”;
• Expectant of exceptional customer service;
• Untrusting of estate agents and landlords; and
• Comfortable and expectant of using technology to simplify their lives.
2) Owners / Developers (B2B) - Society aims to provide design, operational, letting and digital solutions to the following:
• Single asset developers building BTR properties;
• Developers of BTR platforms with a number of properties;
• Deployment of white label digital platform to other operators ie Social Housing.
Characteristics of target market
The residential sector is currently viewed as one of the poorest sectors for customer service and innovation.
Members - For many, finding a new rental home can include the following:
• Search - trawling endless estate agents, completing registration documents at each with viewings at awkward times.
• Transaction - cumbersome paperwork and huge deposits.
• Services - how do you find a cleaner, plumber or dog sitter?
• Community - What about the neighbours? We may get to know them but do they share our values? Are they noisy?
Owners - Our experience suggests that the current management solution for BTR owners typically shows the following characteristics:
• Poor customer service.
• Little / no adoption of any digital strategy.
• Fragmented with many parties providing lots of services.
• Lack of innovation to drive additional profit.
Society aims to transform the current renting experience and create a seamless, enjoyable experience for members and additional returns for owners through its digital platform.
Society has two customers:
1) Owners: Society continues to network with major developers in the sector and due to our experience has access to major developers. Gerard (CEO / Co-founder) has conducted a number of talks at industry events including Tedx, RESI, Estate Gazette Residential Conference, UK Apartment Association and Naomi Cleavers inaugural CLOSE event.
2) Members: Our aim is to attract like minded members to our buildings. A cinema room or pool table does not suddenly create a community!
• We seek 10-20 Foundation members to be the first members of our buildings; members that share our values and will enhance the community.
• These Foundation members then use networking and social media to attract others to the building.
• We will hold preview events with Foundation members raising awareness of Society and other community aspects ie health, design, technology etc.
• Typical channels (Rightmove / Zoopla) will also be used.
• PR - we have experience in creating a global brand (Yotel).
1) Property developers that have started to develop rental buildings while also creating in house operational brands.
2) Legacy residential managers that are entering the Build to Rent management arena with typically little innovation, branding etc.
We distinguish ourselves from the competition as follows:
• We do not come from the world of the residential management and believe we therefore have a fresh and innovative approach to the sector.
• We are building a multi dimensional platform more akin to a hotel company which allows us to operate across different pricing and product positions.
• We are hoteliers focused on providing exceptional customer service. The average consumer is of the view that the residential sector is fairly poor in this aspect.
• Digital - Data rich, experience led platform to improve the customer experience and drive additional revenue.
• Team: Strong background across operations, customer service, technology, residential and global branding.