Vrumi is Airbnb for workspace.
Vrumi is a Sharing Economy online property marketplace connecting workers and professionals needing space with householders who have rooms available in the daytime.
Vrumi solves the problem for self-employed, freelancers, micro-workers and other professionals to find spaces to work in, in areas they couldn’t previously afford, and may not need full time.
For householders, Vrumi provides an additional source of income from rooms in their homes sitting idle during the day, such as sitting rooms and dining areas.
Vrumi’s website allows householders to upload rooms available for rent, with photos, prices and availability. Professionals looking for a space to work search for their requirements, and then communicate and reserve directly with the host over the Vrumi messaging, reservation and payments system.
Vrumi provides coaching, host and guest ID verification, and all the peer-to-peer services and promotion needed for a healthy community in the Sharing Economy.
We believe that Vrumi is a totally new concept which leverages the momentum of the growing sharing economy, which PWC expect to rise in value from £9bn now to £230bn 10 years. We are creating a new market, where residential rooms are daily 'recycled' into workspace.
Vrumi generates extra income for households:
Most households have rooms sitting idle during the day. These rooms can generate income - for example a sitting room rented during the day just once a week for £40 a day will generate over £2,000 a year and three times a week £6,000.
Our launch in January has proved that householders are open to renting out day rooms, and then having their home to themselves at the end of the day.
Vrumi provides new flexible and affordable workspace:
Finding affordable workspace is a problem for many people and professions, from writers to tutors to singing teachers to micro-enterprises to therapists and start-ups.
Vrumi provides daytime space in private homes for everyone who doesn't want a fixed-term 'office', and may currently work from home, a library or coffee shop, or communal workspace.
Vrumi solves an existing problem for workers, and creates a new market for working.
* Vrumi helps householders pay mortgages, rent, and bills by enabling them to generate extra income
* Vrumi helps start‐ups and self employed get a leg up and grow their business with affordable rooms and flexible booking
* Vrumi partners with professional associations and other groups to find their members workspace
* Vrumi expands the sharing economy through recycling of rooms during the daytime
* Vrumi helps build civic cohesion by encouraging sharing, trust and reciprocity between neighbours and communities
We expect Vrumi over time to revolutionise how many people work.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Exceptionally strong management team:
The two Founders have over sixty years of entrepreneurial business experience in media, publishing and finance, and recruited experienced digital talent to the team; Sophie Neary as Founding Director, Ian Johnson as COO and Ben Dunham as CTO.
- a fully working and live website Vrumi.com with full functionality, launched in January 2015
- over 200 properties listed, growing at over 10% per week
- over 600 registered users, growing at over 13% per week
- completing regular bookings, many with repeat users
Vrumi's Founders committed £88,000 of Founder money, and raised £150,000 from high quality professional and private investors.
High profile publicity:
- Vrumi has attracted high profile coverage in The Times, The Independent, Evening Standard, Harper's Bazaar, High50, Enterprise Nation and Spectator Money.
- Member of SEUK (Sharing Economy UK) alongside Airbnb and ZipCar.
Vrumi is a marketplace website, which charges commission to Host and Guest.
We charge 5.5% of the headline rent to the host, and 9.5% to the guest.
Our revenue derives directly from the value of bookings made, so a function of number of rooms, how frequently booked, and average price, times our commission rate.
We expect most bookings to be repeat Guests, often in the same location, which will feed through to high Life Time Value for both guests and hosts. Of the bookings in January and February, over 60% were repeat Guests.
We expect to go nationwide in the UK in 2015, and then replicate the platform in overseas operations in capital cities, with an opener and small sales team in each geography.
We will also explore what other services we can provide to hosts and guests.
Use of proceeds
We intend to drive the following objectives:
- Scale fast in London – drive growth of Hosts, Guests and reservations through increased marketing and sales activities
- Develop key partnerships in London and the UK with guest organisations
- Expand across the UK
- Explore overseas expansion
- Continue website functionality and user experience development, with a ratings system next on the development runway
A simple budget split:
65% - human costs, in-house and out-house
22% - customer acquisition costs
13% - computing services, premises, misc
Our major direct customer acquisition cost is advertising, photography, and incentives.
Our HOST target market includes the following simple categories:
* People out at work during the day
* People with adult children who have left home
* Families with children at school during the day
* Semi-private space owners, eg rooms above shops and pubs
* B&B hosts who like renting out space during the day, or during off-peak travelling season
70% of the UK population would share their idle assets if it were easy or convenient, and Vrumi makes it easy for hosts to do so, and secure through our ID verification systems.
Uber is the world’s largest taxi firm, and owns no taxis
Airbnb is the world’s largest holiday rentals firm, and owns no property
We intend Vrumi to be the UK’s largest workspace provider, by accessing just a small fraction of the UK’s over £5 trillion of residential property, with the same ambition in other countries.
Our GUEST target market:
We expect our guests to be self-employed or micro-businesses. In the UK 4.6 million people are self-employed, with that number on an upwards trajectory.
Our target categories include, but are not limited to:
- physical therapists
- alternative therapists
- talk therapists
- yoga and pilates professionals
- office offsite groups
- music and piano teachers
- home workers
- people working in libraries and coffee shops and hotel lobbies
95% of UK businesses are classified as micro-businesses - while most will not be candidate guests, many will.
Characteristics of target market
The driver for Hosts joining Vrumi will mainly be the income they can generate from low impact daytime use. For example, Airbnb report that 63% of their hosts use the income to pay bills and costs they would otherwise struggle to pay.
Companies like Regus have targeted the flexible office market, and co-working spaces have grown to feed the demand for desk space on flexible terms, coffee shops have accepted that many of their occupants are working - all evidence of growing demand for temporary space.
We have engaged with more than a thousand professionals in most of the categories in the previous section on how they solve their workspace problem at the moment, and the appetite for flexible residential work-space is undoubted.
Vrumi is in a Test & Learn phase for the most cost effective marketing strategies. Our prime aim is to focus on strategies to achieve scale and speed. At this time we do not intend to spend large amounts of money on building the Vrumi brand and service via traditional advertising or brand marketing.
We reach hosts through direct marketing (eg leaflets), social media, referral, and direct approaches to hosts already open to letting. We are exploring partnerships with estate agents. We track efficacy of marketing via registration codes and sign-up incentives.
Guests: We have used, are using or will use the following guest customer acquisition channels:
Social media targeted advertising and marketing
Direct to Members of Professional User Groups
Partnerships with Professional User Groups
Partnerships with media organisations with eyeballs
Direct approaches to users of existing flexible working spaces
Traditional advertising in appropriate publications and websites
We are exploring co-branded partnership opportunities with large publishers with significant online and eyeball communities to attract both Hosts and Guests. The benefit of this approach is minimal or no cost of acquisition upfront, with a revenue share of sales to the partner/publisher - thus very appealing for access to large target market as well as positive impact on cash flow.
Brand & Community Ambassadors:
We are seeking Vrumi Ambassadors in different industries who will champion the Vrumi service and spread the world amongst their communities to build our Guest community.
We have strong testimonials from existing users verifying how Vrumi has positively impacted their working life.
While various offerings, such as Regus, co-working spaces, and therapy rooms offer solutions to some of our users, there are no competitors in the residential to workspace sector that we know of.
We compete against hot-desking, against Starbucks, against temporary offices. These are all table/desk options - we offer a far wider range of possibilities.
Since we are the first into this space to our knowledge, we are either crazy or expect that competitors will start to emerge this year - 'Fast Followers' in the jargon - and these will pose the greatest threat.
Competition is a fact of life - we need to offer a consistently better product and better marketing to maintain our advantage.
Vrumi is offering what is to our knowledge a completely new product - residential space recycled as working space during daytime.