Hot on the heels of the Urban.co.uk acquisition in September last year, venture backed online property management platform, Howsy.com has now also acquired a number of Upad’s assets from its liquidators, including the company name, contracts and operating platform.
In a deal that is sure to make technology and property watchers sit up and notice this rapidly growing firm, the purchase sees Howsy founder Calum Brannan add an undisclosed number of landlords, thought to be in the thousands, to his group’s fast-growing customer base.
It was recently reported that Upad founder James Davis was closing it down having had a personal health scare in 2018. Originally founded in 2008, Davis had raised a seven-figure sum from a handful of investors previously.
The rationale behind the asset acquisition?
Founder Calum Brannan said, “Letting a property is becoming complex and highly regulated, and less experienced landlords can often find themselves inadvertently on the wrong side of the law.
By acquiring the assets of Upad and Urban.co.uk we can provide a broader range of products for landlords, assisting those that are less confident about the process or worried by complex compliance, or providing great value, efficiency and accessibility for others.”
Will the Upad name be retained or merged into Howsy?
It will be retained. “The Upad brand has a strong and positive reputation. Over the last decade, they built a great name based on a strong focus on customer service and advice. We won’t be throwing that away,” says Brannan. “in fact, we want to build on it”
Why did Howsy acquire Upad – just for the customer database or the tech too?
“Howsy are keen to build an unrivalled rental platform, utilising seamless technology, highly skilled staff and a bank of rental-know-how to offer bespoke solutions to landlords across the UK. Upad’s technology delivers some fantastic solutions, and their loyal customer base represents a cross-section of UK landlords who we hope we can also continue to deliver a great service to.”
Two acquisitions in three months. Does this mean that there are more to come?
“Wait and see.” Brannan said, “We have significant financial backing and the ambition is to grow our business fast, both organically and through strategic acquisitions.
“We look at every opportunity as long as we believe it is value added for us, our shareholders and the mutual customers of both entities.
“Collaboration makes sense in our space as, up until now, there has been too much fragmentation and a ‘silo’ type mentality to making renting better for landlords and tenants alike. I’m open to any interesting conversations that help grow the rental sector through the efficiency of technology and I’m confident we will be one of the big winners that make that happen.”