S1 E10 HouseMe – a first of its kind rental platform

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HouseMe – creating real value for tenants and landlords in residential rental



The rental industry hasn’t changed how it vets tenants and verifies landlords in decades, from the pricing of units to charging fees to landlords and its archaic means of vetting; the customers of the renting industry, both tenants and landlords, are not getting real value for their money / investment. HouseMe wants to change this. Not only are they looking to give fair pricing, but also to reward star tenants and to make looking for a new place simple. In this episode Ben Shaw and Kyle Bradley take us through their journey of coming up with an idea, making important changes, and getting almost such high sign up rates within a few weeks of being launched.


South African Rental                    HouseMe app

Show Notes:

Ben Shaw and Kyle Bradley, both studied at UCT, but only met years later when they decided to start a venture together.
Ben took the corporate route, working for a bank; and Kyle started out working for a startup as one of its first team members.
They both had come to a decision to go it alone around about the same time, Ben had the idea and Kyle the development skills.
HouseMe’s development has been outsourced to date, and that is by design.
Why does HouseMe exist? Because the rental system is broken.
HouseMe used the lean startup principles of not sticking to assumptions and tested them with customers, identifying their actual needs and solving for them.
Three things that are unique to HouseMe:

  1. Transparent bidding process.
  2. Rating system.
  3. Own the value chain and can negotiate discounts for maintenance, legal services and photography etc.

Even after testing their product endlessly, it was only once they had launched that they found that simple is always best, and that being agile enough to make changes instantly is key.

Significant quotes:

“How do we completely rebuild the value-chain of rental”
“We are the first platform in the world that is bringing that to the two sides of the renting equation.”
“I think that entrepreneurs are mistaken for being very arrogant big thinkers, instead of humble workers.”
“Because even if it doesn’t work, even if the risk doesn’t pay off, and for whatever reason HouseMe doesn’t succeed as we envision, we can always go back to a job, we’re never going to go back to this opportunity.”

Links Mentioned:

HouseMe’s website
HouseMe Facebook page

The Alan Gray Orbis Foundation

Android app

iOS app

About the author, Charlotte

Charlotte, or Charlie as she likes her friends to call her, is what you would call a multipotentialite or a jack of all trades if you must. She been an auditor, an English teacher, a consultant, an executive assistant and product manager. She loves to read, watch shows, learn, tries to exercise, eats a lot, travels and tries out new things.

Entrepreneurship excites her not only because of its capability to bring joy (read freedom) to entrepreneurs, but also because it can vastly improve a country or continent for the better.

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