When working for one of the leading estate agents in the UK, Tenancy Stream cofounder James Thorn became “frustrated and shocked” about how “inefficient” the property management process was.
While taking a year out to study for a Master’s degree in International Business, he conducted research into solving the problems he had experienced as an estate agent.
Recognising a market need, he and his co-founder (and CTO) Peter White founded the early-stage company, which has developed a property management platform for simplifying the renting process for landlords, tenants, and estate agents.
We spoke to Thorn to find out more.
How did you discover a need for Tenancy Stream?
James Thorn: Working as an estate agent at Hunters, Foxtons and Barrett Homes, I become frustrated and shocked to discover an inefficient property management process. And so, I undertook market research, talking to 20 estate agents, landlords, and tenants.
They all commented on the same issues – a lack of communication, efficiency, and no set method of communication or accountability. Afterward, I showed interviewees their feedback and set about getting initial users onboard. Peter White then joined as CTO to build the platform, and Tenancy Stream was born.
What qualities do you see in your team?
We feel we have the dream team. I have many years of experience as an estate agent, so I know first-hand how the industry works and its associated problems. Peter, who is a serial entrepreneur with a background in tech startups, heads up the tech side of the company and brings our vision to life. Currently, we’re in the process of welcoming and bringing onboard a new director and we are in the final stages of recruitment for developers and sales reps.
What problem are you trying to solve?
When you ask anyone about their experience as a tenant you always get the same response: people report a lack of communication and are left in the dark after reporting maintenance issues. With no clear log of what has happened throughout the tenancy, this leads to disputes.
We want to make renting a property transparent and reporting issues easy for everyone involved using a very simple interface. Agents tend to use a wide range of systems, so they don’t know what’s going on at each property. When landlords call for updates, this means that agents need to research and make calls, as they are unable to give instant answers.
How does Tenancy Stream solve this?
Tenancy Stream is property management software for estate agents, property managers, and accommodation providers. It saves time by keeping one clear record of all conversations, in addition to legal compliance and maintenance issues. Users have their own portal where they can access the ‘stream’ for the property, which contains every single interaction throughout the tenancy – including maintenance issues, inspection reports, and documents relating to the tenancy.
Have you raised any investment?
We gained funding from York St. John University as part of their Grad2Director alumni start-up programme, which helped us gain access to the student accommodation market. More recently we have received a provisional offer for seed funding from a private investor – an ex-Saville’s director with extensive industry connections and knowledge.
Where are you based?
After a competitive application process with only 30 places available and more than 135 businesses applying, we’re members of the Hiscox Business Club – a co-working space for York-based startups. We’re working closely with Hiscox on new product initiatives.
We are currently in the hands of estate agents and block management companies across the country, focusing on Yorkshire at present. In the coming months, our marketing and our sales approach will focus on the London market, leading to nationwide expansion.
What’s on the horizon for Tenancy Stream?
Our aim is to change the way that people perceive renting properties, improving the process for all parties involved. We want to be market leaders in the industry and aim to get our platform approved by its leading bodies.
Our aim for the year is to finish with 10,000 users on the platform. In the first quarter of next year, we’ll enter the London market and then target growth, before targeting Dubai. We’re starting with the lettings and property management sector and will then aim to tackle the sales process for individuals buying properties. After that? Either an exit or further extension into different markets.
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