Settled: “Customers Are At The Centre Of Our Ecosystem.”

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Jessica Pearn at UK based property platform Settled, explains why constant innovation, focus on technology & analytics are necessary to build a successful brand:

Describe Settled in 50 words or less.

Settled is an online property platform that was created with the vision of shifting the control of moving homes away from middlemen and into the hands of the consumer. With its easy-to-use technology, the platform enables homeowners to manage every aspect of their move all under one roof.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

Settled was founded by brother and sister Paul and Gemma Young, who, having worked for real estate companies in the past, witnessed first hand the problems of the disjointed process of buying and selling homes that make moving a stressful experience for everyone involved. Both went on to work for technology companies such as Google and they became increasingly passionate and confident in how technology can be created to improve people’s lives. They combined their experience of the property and technology industries to create Settled with the vision of making moving easier for everyone.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Right now buying or selling a home is said to be one of the top three most stressful things we ever do in our lifetime (up there with divorce and redundancy). Imagine a world where people love moving home, where property sales don’t fall through (currently 1 in 3 do) and where people understand what is happening at every step of their journey. Settled will make misconduct in agencies and smoke and mirrors throughout the buying and selling process things of the past.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

Gemma Young – CEO:
A typical working day starts with a drive to work on my trusty Vespa through the London streets. Once I’ve arrived in the office I’ll meet with my tech and product team to review the priorities of the week and make sure everything is on track. During the day I’ll have video calls or meetings with potential partners and investors in order to discuss partnership / growth opportunities. Another important aspect I stay close to is the customer team; we receive and analyse this closely in order to plan for the development of new tools. We pride ourselves in being an innovative tech company that is redesigning property transactions and I’m constantly excited about how we’re in an amazing position with a wonderful team who can act on things and really make a difference.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Customers are at the centre of our ecosystem – we’re only happy if they’re happy and their feedback is always a focus and an opportunity to innovate.

We measure our success through regular internal meetings where we assess our performance on a weekly basis and reflect on how we can do better for our customers. Google Analytics are at the centre of everything we do so we can see exactly how users interact with our platform and engage with our brand. By remaining agile we can easily adapt to changes and ensure that we are constantly meeting their needs.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the online property platform like you imagined it in the beginning?

Though Settled’s platform is built as we dreamed it would be, there are constantly new innovations and features aligned to our market – the biggest challenge is figuring out which ones to build first. For example – our initial platform focused on working closely with property sellers to help them have a much better (and less expensive) experience. Through this work, we’ve ended up working with hundreds of buyers, learning first hand what issues they have with current models – so this year we’ll really be focusing on how we can make things easier for the 5m buyers who look for property each year.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Settled has received seed funding and is currently fundraising in order for funds to be channelled into the promotion and marketing of the business and brand (for the first time since we launched) and to continue our commitment to creating and building innovative online tools for the property sector.

What were the biggest challenges you faced building your startup?

One of the biggest challenges we have faced was finding the right team to build and grow Settled. We learnt that choosing people with the right behaviours and attitudes wins over experience every time. Working with people who are passionate about making positive changes to the property sector and who genuinely believe that the technology we are developing can improve people’s lives, makes all the difference when building a company from scratch.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

To ensure we stand out from the crowd we always provide high quality service by focusing on the consumer. We listen to every single piece of feedback we get from our users and work with them as we do with our partners to build a platform for them.

Another thing that has helped grow our business is to keep the core skill sets at the centre of the team. We’re lucky that our founders are both tech and marketing experts so there’s no need to outsource the key skills that will help us expand and stay close to the innovations needed in this sector.

What do you look for in team members?

We look for people who are passionate about what we’re doing in the property sector and who truly believe we’ll improve lives through our work. We also look people who want to innovate and push the boundaries of technology – our most recent hire did a dissertation on disruptive technologies and how industries with an ‘agent’ in the middle will change be completely reimagined in the coming years – he’s passionate about pulling his learnings into innovations for the business and we’re excited about having someone young and so driven in this sector to help us understand the impact millennials will have on industry.

Why would a talent join your team?

A talent would join a disruptive startup at an exciting time in an industry that’s changing vastly. They would be the kind of person who wants to innovate and push the boundaries of technology and enable the next generation to take control of their property transactions. They would be part of a team passionate about what they’re all doing who also get to laugh a lot along the way.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

When the Settled platform first went live, we secured our first customer and listed their property on our website and partner platforms. Within 2 days our first ever seller called us to say that he was sat with a glass of champagne in the garden with the buyer who’d just made a great offer on his home that he had accepted. We were so thrilled that we all had a little dance around the office! We’ll never forget that moment and feeling of helping someone get ‘settled’.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

My advice for my fellow founders of startup companies would be very simple: Surround yourself with people who share your vision.

settled team


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