Online agent Doorsteps – which claims to be worth £12m after only a year’s trading – has now raised £500,800 from 357 investors on the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.
The business, which aimed to raise £400,000, has now announced that it is extending its bid for funds by a week – and last night, announced that it is in early talks with an un-named group as to a merger.
Doorsteps said: “If the merger does eventually proceed over the next month or two, it could mean a very significant increase in the number of UK wide visiting agents we have access to. Currently we have 15 and are hiring and training more; being paid per job and keeping our overheads as low as possible. If this merger goes ahead it could potentially mean that our number of agents we have access to will increase from circa 15 to over 190 overnight.
“The group also have access to some proprietary technology which Doorsteps.co.uk will be able to deploy immediately to increase the quality of service we can offer our customers; including automation of user journeys and enhancing the ’24 hour’ experience.
“The merger will have a dilutive effect on all shareholders. But the management believe the small dilutive effect will be far outweighed by the long-term benefit to Doorsteps.co.uk and help it to deliver our strategy of providing a fast, responsive and amazingly priced estate agency service across the UK.”
The message ends: “We plan to keep investors updated as regularly as possible, as our exciting discussions evolve.”
One person seemed unimpressed, however, saying: “This is an extraordinary time to drop this news.”
Doorsteps, which claims to be Britain’s 41st largest agency, says in its pitch for funds that it expects online agents to have 50% market share by 2020.