London flatmate speed dating

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This week we speak to Rupert Hunt, founder of flat-sharing website SpareRoom. When Rupert Hunt set up a flat-sharing website he never guessed that he'd one day need to use the service himself. Rupert launched London-based SpareRoom back inaged 29, to try to offer people an easier way of finding or filling a room in a shared house. He very much expected that most of the users would be students, or people in their 20s. Then inaged 38, he separated from his wife, and found that he didn't like living on his own.

So for the first time he ed up as a user of his own business. Now 43, Rupert still has flatmates, and says he is far from alone in being a something that lives in shared accommodation, as recent surveys have shown.

Or like me, they're bored of living on their own and want some company. Not bad for a business that Rupert launched from a shed on his father's farm in the north of England. Whizz back in time to the mids and Rupert had no intention of setting up any business.

London flatmate speed dating was instead the bassist in a band all set for fame and fortune. Unfortunately this never arrived for the London-based group, which was called Erogenous Jones. So stacking shelves in his local supermarket, Rupert taught himself how to de websites in his spare time. Realising that finding rooms to rent in the capital was a miserable business of looking through free newspapers, or scouring notes put up in shop windows, in he came up with the idea for the earliest iteration of SpareRoom, a rentals listing website called IntoLondon.

This started to earn him a few hundred pounds a month, which supplemented his new career as a website deer. Moving to Manchester inhe realised that finding a room to rent was equally as difficult there, so he started to give the website more love and attention.

Renaming it SpareRoom, it officially launched in Its business model is such that while it is free to use, people can choose to pay for advanced features, such as having their advert listed more prominently, or early bird messaging. With little or no money for advertising, Rupert needed a big idea to secure some publicity. Thankfully his first and at the time only employee Gemma Allen-Muncey had a cunning plan. Her idea was to hold a "speed flatmating" evening in a London pub.

Using the same format as speed dating, people looking to rent a room would each have a few minutes to chat to London flatmate speed dating who was looking for a new flatmate. But back inlittle did the world's media know that Rupert and Gemma were operating out of a farm shed on the rural edge of Greater Manchester to keep costs down.

Trying to avoid them all day wasn't much fun," he says. As the business grew, Rupert and Gemma were thankfully able to swap the shed for an office in Manchester, with a London office following a few years later. London flatmate speed dating says that it was in that the site really started to boom, and he had to hire additional developers to make sure that the website could cope.

More The Boss features:. Announcing that he was looking for flatmates who only need pay what they could afford, he got thousands of applicants, and lots of newspaper coverage. He then repeated the trick later that year in New York when he hired a vast loft apartment in Manhattan as SpareRoom expanded to the US.

Mark Homer, co-founder of UK property management advocacy group Progressive Property, says that SpareRoom has helped to improve the reputation and quality of shared renting.

Gemma is still with the business too, running its Manchester office, while Rupert is based in London. Rupert, who has the chief executive title, is also continuing to enjoy having flatmates. Good genes? The sisters who put the rest of us to shame 'The Rolling Stones inspired me to go into business' 'I broke 22 bones and lost a year's memory' 'Most of us hate haggling for a new car'. Related Topics. Entrepreneurship Manchester Renting.

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London flatmate speed dating

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Thanks to “speed-flatmating”, finding a home in London will be more horribly reminiscent of dating than ever