3 Jul 2017
He is worth £160m on paper – and likely to find himself in the Rich List next year.
But, according to a glowing interview in the London Evening Standard, Purplebricks boss Michael Bruce is almost too busy to enjoy the fruits of his company’s “stratospheric rise”.
Bruce, who works 15-hour days, is “rising a £1bn unicorn with a bigger market value than rivals Countrywide, Foxtons and LSL put together”.
The interview reveals that Bruce has just bought a house in California – where Purplebricks is to start its launch across America.
One investor described him in the interview as a “visionary” who is also across the detail: “You send him an email and the reply comes straight back. He realises he’s got first mover advantage now and he’s determined to ram it home. Unlike a lot of these tech guys he’s basically got no ego.
“Every hour he spends promoting himself rather than the business he would see as a waste of time.”
The interview does touch on detractors: “Online rivals grudgingly admire from afar but warn against over-expansion. ‘They’ve done a bloody good job and a lot of the traditional guys don’t like them,’ said one, adding: ‘What they have proved is that there is an inherent demand for fixed-price estate agency.
‘But there are plenty of tombstones in the US with a UK company’s name on them.’”
Bruce also dismisses another criticism that Purplebricks has created a race to the bottom for fees as ‘sour grapes’.
As for that awkward analyst Anthony Codling who keeps pointing out that Purplebricks doesn’t say how many homes it actually sells, Bruce confirms that 83% of instructions “end in a sale” and promises more numbers “at the right time, when it would be more reflective of the performance of the business”.
Just how far Purplebricks has come in a little over three years is – without doubt – a stunning achievement as EYE’s first report on the venture shows. It attracted just threeback in March 2014:
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