February already and wow, 2019 has started fast for the team! Having spent a long time working in blue chip multinationals all over the globe (Stockholm, Montreal, and Brussels were fun, Sydney is hard to beat), and then focusing on the entrepeneurial sector since 2014, Yourkeys ticks all the boxes as a start up: great plan, great people, great product, combined with a hugely engaged and supportive investor community. Simply put, it’s a recipe for success.
What have we been up to? In the space of the past month we have:
- Updated the platform and released the latest version of it (4.1.11) that adds in numerous upgrades
- Launched the pre-event VIP campaign to drum up support for the Property Wire/Yourkeys Feb 7th panel debate (“How can we kick start sales in the new build market?”)
- Ramped up customer meetings with developers, conveyancers, and investors to spread the good news about Yourkeys
In addition, the Sales team has been working extremely hard to follow up the December desk drop campaign and map out the customer onboarding process completely, to ensure all stakeholders in each developer ‘eco-system’ are on board and know how to use the platform. Make no mistake, there are plenty of moving pieces involved in getting the good ship Yourkeys afloat successfully, so understanding every single one of them is pivotal to our success. Suffice to say the whole team is laser focused on this and improving it literally every single day.
Craig mentioned passion and enthusiasm in the last newsletter and that is clearly on show in abundance across the team. Add to this healthy mix a hugely positive energy and a can do attitude, and you will get a flavour for what this team showcases on a daily basis. We are climbing the mountain folks, Craig & Riccardo are carrying the Yourkeys flags, and everyone knows where we are going!
John FitzGerald - Commercial Director
Key Tech Issues at Launch
There’s an old adage that ‘No plan survives first contact with the enemy’ and we’re living proof of that. It is inevitable that when you launch a brand-new, disruptive tech platform, there will be a whole raft of issues that arise that were not initially considered.
If there is one key learning point from this, it’s that we spent too much time with the 46 exec teams of House Builders/Developers, scoping out the full workflow and did not spend enough time with the frontline troops of marketing suite staff, conveyancers and estate agents.
We soon found out that despite protocols dictated by HQ, the real day to day process involved lots of shortcuts and work around tasks to make their lives easier. Consequently, having spent more time with the users of the platform, we’ve identified lots of areas that can be streamlined and improved to make a truly seamless solution.
5 x Key Issues
- Help to Buy is a government subsidy for first time buyers – The conveyancing process for these types of purchases changes more significantly than was first highlighted during our many focus groups with solicitors and developers.
- The onboarding process for developers has also proven to be more labour intensive for the clients than anticipated, so has met with natural inertia.
- The CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) mandate that a ‘Disclosure of incentives’ form must be filled out by the seller on every new home purchase where the buyer requires a mortgage. This is a labour-intensive job done by the sales staff and without this feature in our platform the process is not truly managed online and therefore requires ‘double input’.
- Ability to pause the purchase process due to chains or other delays.
- The UX (user experience) of the conveyancing ‘enquiries’ section was not easy enough to navigate and users were resorting to type and subverting the system by using email.
Addressing the 5 x Key Issues:
- Included the HTB user flow into the Yourkeys timeline – This includes new ‘specialist’ reservation agreements, limits on reservation fees, bespoke timelines/SLA’s to comply with the HCA (Homes & Communities Agency) guidelines and even included a few bells and whistles such as directing buyers to the relevant HTB authority (of which there are 42 nationally) to further improve the user journey and speed of the transaction.
Fixed, implemented and live by 31.03.19
- We have completely redesigned the UX and on-boarding process to make it more intuitive and simpler to use – this includes live feedback and automation in the set up.
Fixed, implemented and live by 28.02.19
- We have developed a centralised CML generator which allows the developer/seller to fill out the document online, ONCE. This will then auto generate the final CML form with all the corresponding detail and auto-submit to the conveyancers instructed on the scheme. This not only fixes the lack of CML on the platform but massively improves the lives of the sales agents/marketing suite staff who typically take a few hours to complete these forms individually, by hand for every sale.
Fixed, implemented and live by 28.02.19
- We have developed a feature to allow the buyer’s conveyancer to pause the purchase process at any time and submit a ‘Reason for delay’ – This will notify all the parties involved. It will then provoke the conveyancer for an update every few days to keep all parties up to date.
Fixed, implemented and live by 14.02.19
- We have completely re-thought this section and developed a centralised group messenger app to allow the users to communicate directly with each other at any time. With this feature they can send messages, upload documents and see online/offline statuses of all the users.
Fixed, implemented and live by 05.02.19
Riccardo Dawson – CPO
A marketing desk drop involving Christmas Cake and Branded Bubbles was delivered to our top 80 house developer targets. This meant it was all hands on deck before Christmas, with Annie & Chris jumping into the car and personally delivering our quirky gifts directly into the hands of potential clients. From that activity we successfully locked down 22 client meetings, including Howarth Homes and Kier that are PLC’s. Thus far, from those 22 meetings, the team have converted 2 signed clients, have 5 hot leads and 8 potential clients requesting more meetings.
Annie Siara – Sales & Account Manager
Sales Team Update
We had great success during Christmas and the New Year identifying the developers who are ready and want to embrace our platform as the new way to sell new builds. Check out our client page on the button below to chart our progress with client meetings.
As we grow our client portfolio, there have inevitably been challenges and objections, however, we’ve extracted the product knowledge of the team and combined that with Johns experience, to help us learn how to overcome most objections. As well as meeting new house-builders and developers, we’ve also been meeting their estate agents, conveyancers and marketing suite staff, to identify and document all the different on-boarding steps required by each client, which we’ve called the ‘Eco-System’. This is the interface between all identified and connected stakeholders involved in their particular sales process. We then train all users about the Yourkeys system so they’re able to merge their own paper-based eco-system into the Yourkeys online version during the onboarding process, to then go-live. From the 64 steps in the entire process, there are 11 key milestones and 4 separate stages. From the 16 conveyancing partners thus far, we will identify the most tech-savvy, enthusiastic, highly trained and pre-vetted panel of buyers conveyancers, who will be the pioneers of our technology for both house buyers and housebuilders/developers.
Craig Childs – Sales Manager
Launch of Yourkeys New User Interface
The product team has been working hard on a brand new interface design, as well as the implementation of new features that will guarantee an exceptional UX experience for our clients. UX is not just related to web platforms and we have worked hard to improve the UX buyer process making it simple, transparent and fun.
Whilst browsing on the Yourkeys platform you will see a fresh contemporary design, as well as the latest design trends, such as vector illustrations, flat colours, informative animations and the relationship between solids and voids.
We have also rolled out the ‘live chat‘ capabilities. – Featured in our explainer video
What does this mean? It means the buyers and stakeholders are now able to communicate in real time, transparently and minimising delays to the conveyancing process, whilst making the whole experience smoother and more efficient. The ‘live chat‘ function can also be used by the stakeholders to share files and contracts, meaning there is far less paperwork for each party to produce, again streamlining the conveyancing process for all involved.
Daniele Schettino – Graphic & UX Designer
Yourkeys Explainer Video
Budget Constraints Leading to a Revised Investor Strategy
- Increased costs for the tech team
- Not able to issue first invoices until 1st March 2019 – so revenues are behind schedule
- We changed our end of year, so that our forecasted R&D Tax Credit of £50k, originally due in March, is now due in June 2019
- House sales have temporarily stalled due to the uncertainty of Brexit and we rely on multiple revenues streams for each completed house sale
Proposed Solution for March / April
We do not want to do an equity raise without having demonstrable revenues as we will be punished with a low valuation. We are therefore hoping to primarily address this short-term issue with our existing investors through issuing Loan Notes
- Offering Loan Notes
- Raising £240k in March 2019
- Minimum tranches of £15k
- Interest of 2% per month (24% PA)
- 20% discount on equity valuation if converted to shares at next round
Proposed Solution When Revenues Kick-In from May (therefore de-risked)
- Offering Convertible Loan Notes
- Raising £660k in May 2019
- Minimum tranches of £15k
- Interest of 1% per month (12% PA)
- 10% discount on equity valuation when converted to shares at next round
Craig Massey – CEO
BITA Construction Networking Lunch
Yourkeys was really proud to be a main sponsor of the British and Irish Trading Alliance event at the Mayfair Club on Jan 25th. With over 150 leaders from the construction sector in attendance, it was a packed house on the day, and we had the opportunity to present the Yourkeys story to educate the audience and raise brand awareness.
I spoke on behalf of the team and feedback afterward was very positive (click on the video to watch my presentation). Comments included “good clear message”, “why hasn’t someone thought of this before?”, and “what an easy idea to understand!” We were there in force (six of the team attended) and everyone had the chance to network with conveyancers, people who work for developers, and developers themselves.
BITA runs a variety of events throughout the year that will allow us to build solid relationships with key players in the sector. This one was a really nice way for us to introduce Yourkeys to the UK/Irish industry and start building those important relationships!
John FitzGerald – Commercial Director
“They said grown men don’t cry. Well, I beg to differ…” – John FitzGerald
Magazine Inserts – Showhouse and Housebuilder
If you’re on the showhouse magazine subscription and the Housebuilder & Developer magazine subscription, you probably have spotted us in the January 2019 edition. As part of Yourkeys’ marketing activities to attract more housebuilder and developer to use our platform, we have designed an A4 size magazine inserts.
As well as a sales campaign, the inserts will raise the brand awareness of Yourkeys within the industry. As we have a digital marketing background then we understand that for a completely new brand like Yourkeys, you have to have a minimum number of 12 touch points with a client before they start to recognise the brand.
Ethan Wang – Creative Director
Property Wire Panel Debate
We hosted an event for Housebuilders/Developers in association with Property Wire that attracted 87 attendees. The event chaired by Gilles Barrie, ex-Property Week’s Editor, kicked off with Dave Bexon from Redrow stressing that it was a critical time for housebuilders and the last thing it needed was the government to introduce draconian tariffs for foreign house buyers. It has been proven that more developments have been launched overall, due to foreign buyers favouring first phase off-plan pre-sales.
Riccardo from Yourkeys pointed out that the construction sector only invested 2% into R&D (the same as the farming industry) compared to 25% invested by the tech industry and that to improve efficiencies and greater revenues, the industry needed to invest more into technology.
Andy Frankish from The Mortgage Advice Bureau gave some fascinating insights into how radically different the mortgage landscape will be during 2019. This is largely due to the introduction of ‘Affordability Passports’ rather than mortgages, providing much greater flexibility for buyers to make offers on new homes much more rapidly.
Nick Wright, from CBRE stated that Housebuilder/Developers needed to bite the bullet of offering much greater personalisation. He stated that millennials are just the start of consumers demanding greater choice and the spoils of that market will only go to the companies who best respond to those consumers.
We also heard from Paul Smee from the Conveyancing Association on legislation just introduced by the CLC (Council for Licences Conveyancers). This now states that all property lawyers must now publish prices, service and quality information on their websites to help foster innovation and competition across the legal services market.
Finally, Riccardo closed the event by stating that Yourkeys solved many of the issues raised including the new requirements imposed on conveyancers. He stated that ultimately Yourkeys was one solution that helped accelerate the sale of new-builds and reduced the number of sales fall-throughs ultimately helping to kick start sales in 2019.
Jonathan Marrache – Sales Manager
Welcoming Paul & Rob
I would like to welcome Paul Mortimer (LinkedIn) and Rob Green (LinkedIn) to my team, Tech and Development. Paul previously worked with me at E-Tale and was a key member in building out their multi-million-hits-a-day global e-commerce systems. Rob has more than 20 years software engineering experience and a 3 year stint managing an engineering team.
To learn more about our team, check it out at our team section by clicking the button below.
Dan Makin – CTO
Chinese New Year Celebration 2019 – Doing Business in China
2019 will be an exciting year for Yourkeys, we are looking to expand our business internationally and the Chinese speaking market will be one of the first markets that we would like to attract. Since Chinese New Year is around the corner – Annie (Hong Kong), Ethan (China) and myself (Malaysia) did a presentation on Chinese business etiquette and how to do business with them.
In case you need to brush up your knowledge about the Chinese way of doing business, here are the rules:
- Everything is possible in China
- But nothing is easy
- Patience is the key to success
- The answer “Yes” is not necessarily an indication of agreement or confirmation
- “You don’t understand China” means disagreement
- “Provisional regulations” means the rules can change at any time
- “Basically, no problem” means a BIG problem
- Signing a contract means the beginning of the real negotiation
- The real business is done at the dinner table not in the meeting room
- When you are optimistic, think about rule #2
- When you are discouraged, think about rule #1
Shaw Tsen – COO
Face to Face Investor Update
Please join us at our offices at WeWork 1 Poultry EC2R 8EJ on Thursday 28th February from 6.15pm to 8.45pm to meet the team so we can update you about our progress:
- Overview – Craig & Riccardo – (8 mins)
- Addressing the tech issues from launch – Riccardo & Dan (15 mins)
- Highlights of tech roadmap in 2019 – Dan (5 mins)
- Key advantages of the platform for all stakeholders – Sales Team (12 mins)
- Demo of the Yourkeys Platform – Jordan & Riccardo (12 mins)
- Update on sales and future forecasts – John (10 mins)
- Launch of the New Channels – Craig & Riccardo (15 mins)
- Revenue forecasts and assumptions – Craig (15 mins)
- Investment strategy – Craig & Riccardo (10 mins)
- Q&A (10 mins)
We will need to register you into the guests’ arrival system, so please let us know your name by clicking the button below if you are attending.
Looking forward to seeing you!
Investment Funds Timeline
Hey Investors – the loan note mechanism is the perfect vehicle to encourage your friends and family to join the Yourkeys revolution with almost zero risk. We’re offering very healthy returns on a loan of £15k, where they would receive £2,100 interest in October 2019. They can then choose to withdraw their £15k at that stage or they can convert to shares and receive a 20% discount in the valuation at that round. It really is a super generous offer. So please forward our investor update link to your friends and family and let them be part of the excitement of watching Yourkeys dominate the new build market over the next few years.
KPI - Monthly Tracker
YTD - Target
YTD - Actual
Number of Monthly Developer Meetings (we launched 2 months later than the initial forecast locked in 2017)
Number of Live Clients Selling New-Build Homes
Total Units Live on the Platform
UK Full Time Headcount
Overseas Content Loaders
Number of Houses Sold Through the Platform
Total Revenues (2 month time lag, starts November)