A Liverpool-based startup has triumphed in the North West finals of The F Factor, a startup competition for 14-18 and 19-25-year-olds that is run across five regions of the UK.
Co-founder and CEO of Housemates Lydia Jones explains that she was recommended to apply by a team member and, viewing it as a huge opportunity, prepared for all eventualities, ultimately running out winner in the 19-25-year-old category.
“Along with my other co-founder, Marius, we knew what other companies were also in the competition but didn’t know what stage those companies were at so we practised our pitch in different settings to try and deliver the best pitch we possibly could.”
Housemates is a mobile platform that automates the process of onboarding mainly international students into accommodation and neighbourhoods. The app aims to remove boundaries so that students can send offers to verified landlords, who, in turn, can send counter offers, confirm and create an agreement.
Once an agreement is in place, students have direct access to their landlord and neighbourhood in preparation for making the move overseas. Lydia explains, “Our overall mission is to try and regulate a market where international students are being head hunted and charged large service fees to book their accommodation and also save landlords money that would otherwise be spent on letting agents and international agents to try and source student tenants.”
Housemates has partnered with some of the largest private accommodation providers and student originated brands, such as studentjob.co.uk. There are plans to roll out additional major updates to the platform in the near future.
Having won at the regional final held in Manchester, Housemates now progresses to the national final, where an overall winner will pocket £10,000 for their business. “We’re feeling positive, I think it’s just a matter of making real progress over the next few weeks leading up to the final in London and bringing more emotion into our pitch overall,” says Lydia.
“I think the competition is great it’s offering young people an opportunity not just to capital but to exclusive networks like Founders Forum and Founders of the Future which can change lives as we’ve seen with past winners.”