The Mates Group ( Housemates)

Full Executive Summary on request from gary@prioryhouse.com


The Mates Group (housemates.io)   Huckletree Express, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester UK

https://www.housemates.io

CEO  Lydia Jones lydia@housemates.io

Industry: PropertyTech, TravelTech, PropTech, Marketplace  

Geographical:  Operating in Australia, UK, Ireland, Canada

Mission:

To revolutionize the traditional student housing sector. The market is saturated with conventional letting agents and online lead generation businesses, resulting in extended consumer wait times and subpar booking experiences. Housemates provides the world’s first instant booking system for a reliable, user-friendly booking platform


Target Market Size: 600 million University Students w/w

Headcount: 15 FTEs  

Founded: 2020  

Monetization:  Typically 20% first month rent paid by property operator

Investment Opportunity: US $6.4M  

Use of Proceeds: 

2023 Sales : $147k  



Executive Summary Extract

Revenue Model
Housemates make money by charging the supply side (accommodation providers) for each successful student booking. The business charges 20% of the first month rent, usually 1.6% on anything over a 40-week contract and is billed either quarterly or annually depending on the supplier. Housemates has ambitions to change its cash-flow to ensure that money isn’t outstanding for large periods of time based on being a sales engine rather than an introduction service. The platform is free for students to use, there are no additional service fees whatsoever. Any booking payment made by a student is fully transferred to the accommodation provider for that successful booking taken place due to property regulations. Housemates is unable to take its fees from any student money, this is why it has to bill the accommodation provider separately from each student booking. The business model was designed to be low cost, thereby reducing the barrier to entry for accommodation suppliers to join its network.

Go to Market – Housemates Connect API
Housemates currently has 10 committed student acquisition partners using Housemates Connect API. These partners range from student admission portals, visa agents and flight aggregators. The business aims to have 30 live by the end of 2024. Prospects include the following businesses: ApplyBoard, Enrolly, Admitsee, Edchimp, LeverageEDU, Studenthunter, Unifrog, Unibuddy and many more.

The business aims to bring 60% of sales through student acquisition partners and 40% direct to its marketplace through consumer marketing using social media brand awareness, user driven content, and influencer marketing to help build credibility of the business online. Following the years 2 & 3, the business plans to roll out to support over 120 student acquisition partners and believes that affiliate sales will make up 80% with a 20% direct to marketplace driven by consumer marketing. To support the roll out of student acquisition partners the business will be hiring B2C sales talent that will be responsible for partner acquisition onboarding and progression.

Sales & Marketing Strategy
Larger accommodation providers are contracted to pay Housemates higher commissions, but in order to disrupt the wider marketplace the business believes further deployment of its low-cost business model generates a moat and advances defensibility against traditional or new incumbents. The sales strategy for acquiring new suppliers is lead from the business development department and usually takes about 2 weeks from outreach to pitch commitment and live listing.

The business is continuously onboarding new suppliers to maximize liquidity across its global network affecting conversion rates/revenue. Each booking corridor of operation (UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada) have their own booking seasons in relation to student demand. Intakes are September, January, February and July. Student acquisition is predominantly B2B through Housemates Connect