In this week's latest interview we caught up Jaime Tillyer who co-founded Vouch and we'll let her tell you all about herself and Vouch.
Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into your current role and what you like about your job?
I co-founded Vouch with my husband, sister, brother in law and our CTO Dan three years ago. We identified a gap in the referencing market that offered agents a good quality reference that they could be involved in and also generate revenue to replace some of the lost income from the tenant fee ban. I am the Operations Director, and the favourite part of my job is identifying ways in which we can make things slicker for agents and applicants and remove all pain points from the tenant moving experience. We have also been redeveloping our platform to take on board all of the very latest technology, such as facial recognition and open banking technologies.
What is that your company currently does and what sets them apart from their competitors?
Vouch offers tenant referencing to letting agents that is not just cost-effective but also allows them to generate additional revenue. We have led the way in paying commissions to letting agents and not just using tenant data as a way of bolstering our own profits. We are different in the fact that we are driven by technology and are trailblazers for technology in the industry.
How has Covid-19 affected the company?
The property market took a hit at the start when people were restricted in moving however, we took this opportunity to reach out to all of our customers and take time to connect with them on the phone. A lot of the time agents were working from home and it was great to just have a chat with them and hear their kids and animals in the background as I feel it really humanised people. The number of customers we were onboarding also hit an all-time high as decision-makers from within businesses had more time to look at different products and services that were available to them. Vouch is a contactless system, so it meant applicants could go through the whole application process from their phone and it does not involve any face to face contact.
What would you say your local property market is like at the moment?
We work on a national scale but we are based in Sheffield. In terms of Vouch, we are seeing a record number of people going through the system and we are processing in excess of 20,000 applications per month.
Can anything be done to help the property sector at this moment in time?
The fact that the courts are open again will help landlords who are struggling with rent arrears. In terms of helping tenants, I think there is a great range of products out there that can help when moving. For example, there are deposit replacement products, such as Reposit, that can be used to free up cash for tenants and provide an extra layer of protection for landlords as it offers more than the standard 5 weeks rent that is prescribed by the deposit cap.
Do you think Covid-19 will have a lasting effect on the property market?
My opinion is no, there will be short term effects such as the student market may see a downturn for the next academic year but people will always have to move.
Where do you see yourself and the company this time next year?
Well, what a question...I think Vouch will still be leading the way in tenant referencing and selecting the best income generation products for agents by using the very best and latest technology that will not only save the agents money but also help grow their revenue streams as well.
You can find more about Jamie and her company www.Vouch.co.uk here.