Zoopla founder and Barclays Capital MD join Uniplaces investment

A business set up to make it easier for students to book accommodation over the internet has closed a second round of venture capital investment, banking £2.2 million.

Octopus Investments has been joined by high net-worth angel investors including Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman and Barclays Capital managing director Rob McClatchey in backing Uniplaces.

Since launching its service in 2013, Uniplaces has received in excess of £5 million worth of bookings from both domestic and international students. The new money it has raised will be spent on moving into the French, Italian, German and Dutch markets, as well as growing further in Portugal, Spain and the UK.

The last time Uniplaces raised money was in November 2013 when Octopus Investments led a £700,000 transaction. Before that, angel investor and serial entrepreneur Chesterman had led an initial €200,000 commitment in July 2012.

Uniplaces CEO and founder Ben Grech says that the deal will allow his business to build upon its existing operations and ramp up its international expansion.

‘Our innovative website is incredibly easy for students to use and we have clearly demonstrated the benefits for landlords,’ he adds. ‘This investment puts us in an extremely strong position and takes us a step closer to our vision of being the trusted, global brand for student accommodation.’

Also taking part in the £2.2 million institutional investment is existing backer Shilling Capital Partners, a Portuguese angel fund. McClatchey, also former chairman of University Partnerships Program, will be joining Uniplaces as a non-executive director.

Rebecca Hunt, member of the ventures team at Octopus, comments, ‘Since we last backed Ben and the Uniplaces team back in November 2013, this business has made some really positive steps forward and we are happy to be supporting them in this next stage of growth.

‘The global student market is particularly fast-growing and we’ve seen Uniplaces make strides to match this growth and provide a unique service for both students and landlords.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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