The James Caan-backed estate agency launch of Ivy Gate is being led by three former Your Move senior figures – and is going on a staff-poaching spree.
As well as managing director Jason Tebb – who has also worked for Foxtons and Chesterton Humberts – it has emerged that the other co-founders of the new firm are Stuart Ripley and Matt Martin.
Tebb was Your Move regional managing director for London, while Ripley was head of premier sales at Your Move and Martin was lettings director at the chain.
Ripley will head up sales at Ivy Gate, and Martin will front the lettings operation. It is embarking on an aggressive recruitment operation, with the help of Caan’s money, and has named Foxtons’ staff as among its targets.
Ivy Gate, headquartered in a former police station called KopShop at Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, will operate across Greater London but will not have any traditional high street presence. Its website has not yet gone live, but its first listings are on Rightmove.
Your Move sounded laid back about the move by its former employees. Managing director Helen Woodhouse said: “We know that Jason, Stuart and Matt were keen to develop an agency of their own creation and design. This, we feel, is understandable and simply adds to the number of agencies available in the London area which ultimately the customer can use their own judgement to choose from.”
Ivy Gate is backed by former Dragon James Caan’s venture capital firm Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate, which specialises in investing in property entrepreneurs.
Caan said: “I’m proud to be backing Ivy Gate. I have, throughout my career, invested in people with passion and energy, and the team which Jason has assembled are amongst the most talented in the industry.
“Estate agency needs to change with the times, and Ivy Gate offers a unique proposition, focusing on personal service and use of technology which will challenge the traditional high street estate agents.”
Tebb said: “Estate agency is changing. With sales and lettings moving online, it’s no longer necessary to have a high street presence.
“While we won’t be on the high street, I believe personal relationships, personal brands, and trust are what businesses are built upon, and this absolute focus on relationships and human capital is what will separate us from every other agent out there.
“Our slogan is real people, real estate. We are looking to selectively recruit real local people, familiar faces within the community, who understand their market better than anyone else and who will be in tune with our client’s needs.”
Ivy Gate is the fifth property venture to be backed by Hamilton Bradshaw, which says it has £10m to spend on backing around 20 start-ups in the UK property sector.
Faisal Butt, co-founder and managing director at Hamilton Bradshaw, who also invested in Ivy Gate, said: “I interviewed over 100 candidates – all with different ideas.
“My meeting with Jason was electric and after ten minutes I’d made my mind up. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs in this industry, but I believe that in Jason we’ve backed a winner.
“My mantra, which I’ve learned from James Caan, is that if you back top people, they will go on to do great things.
“I’m very excited to be instilling this ethos in Ivy Gate, and our human capital focus will be instrumental to our scale-up strategy.
“Under our mentorship, Jason will now become the dragon in the estate agency sector and search for others like him to build Ivy Gate into the best ‘personal service’ estate agency in Greater London.”
Butt said that Ivy Gate will only employ “exceptional people – those that are at the top of their field”.
He added: “We won’t be hiring graduates or trainees, only experienced professionals. We’re looking for the top agents in their area.
“Why spend £380m buying Foxtons when you can hire their best negotiators instead?”
Pictured (from left) are Matt Martin, Faisal Butt, Jason Tebb and Stuart Ripley