Northern and Shell Ventures awards advertising subsidy to online rental startup OpenRent

August 19
10:11 AM 2014

Billed as a "multi-million pound" investment, the London-based startup OpenRent has recently received media backing from Northern & Shell Ventures. Northern & Shell is part of the independent UK media group which runs Express Newspapers, The Health Lottery and OK! Magazine. The deal would have OpenRent launch a national television advertising campaign and other media channels through the Northern & Shell Media Group in its bid to significantly increase the number of new landlords who have been utilizing its platform.

In an interview with TechCrunch, co-founder Daz Bradbury said, "OpenRent has been profitable from about January 2013 - while our margins are extremely tight, we didn't need cash to expand infrastructure or build a huge team, we just needed exposure to landlords."

"A VC (venture capital) is much less likely to spend money on advertising alone, but more importantly, with this setup we get a substantial discount on the media spent, as our deal is directly with the media owner", Bradbury explained further.

Northern & Shell Ventures (NSV) is the investment arm of N&S Media Group. It funds young and innovative companies that have already reached a certain level of market maturity through a media-for-revenue and a media-for-equity business model. Instead of outright cash investment, it provides startup companies advertising time via its print, TV and digital media outfits in return for revenue-sharing or equity.

London-based OpenRent claims it is the "future of UK rentals," as it attempts to provide an alternative to traditional property rental agents, thanks to its all-in-one rental platform catered to tenants and landlords. OpenRent was founded in 2012 by Oxford University alumni Bradbury and Adam Hyslop. According to its Crunchbase profile, OpenRent offers a suite of services that includes property advertising and tenancy set-up, property reviews, landlord meetups, tenant references, and property rental reservations.

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