Hannah Nicholson is the founder of MoveGenius, a proptech startup automating the estate agent onboarding process.
The London-based startup’s platform conducts digital ID and anti-money laundering checks, automates legal forms and provides a live dashboard for estate agents.
Its B2B offering is available through a subscription model and it is in discussions with estate agents and portals to secure commercial deals. It has already secured a commercial contract with real estate giant Zoopla.
This week MoveGenius raised £350,000 in pre-seed funding, led by Octopus Ventures, just four months after Nicholson founded the business. It has a valuation of £3.5m.
In this week’s Founder in Five Q&A, Nicholson why you shouldn’t be afraid to bootstrap initially, the benefits of power naps and why she believes the “archaic” legal sector is ripe for disruption
1. What was the most important early hire you made?
Hannah Nicholson: I recently hired my CTO, Leonora Gilmour, a fantastic developer and friend from university. She has been phenomenal at leading product development and is instrumental to our launch.
Not to mention that she introduced me to our second developer and head of design, Lucia Gore. We are a formidable all-female team and I am very lucky to have them.
2. What funding advice would you give to a first-time founder?
HN: Don’t be afraid to bootstrap your business initially. This allows you time to nail down the product and testing. I quit my job and bootstrapped for six months before raising my pre-seed round. I don’t regret it one bit.
It provided me time to do a fantastic incubator programme, The Block Dojo, and to refine the product market fit. Not to mention, it demonstrates to investors how committed you are to your business down the line.
Also, find advisors and investors / VC’s that support your vision and are able to provide you with advice. I have two formal advisors and a substantial support team of other professionals who assist me on how to run the company on a weekly basis. I am also fortunate to be supported by Octopus Ventures.
3. Should founders be outspoken on social media?
HN: I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and I am not afraid of posting or promoting the business. I am conscious not to ‘spam’ followers though and try to be professional. It’s a crucial source of marketing and for me has been a fantastic source of investors and advisors alike so use it wisely.
4. Excluding your own, what’s a sector that’s ripe for disruption?
HN: We are technically a B2B SaaS proptech business, although we do stray into the sphere of legal tech. So if this isn’t cheating I think legal tech is hugely ripe for disruption.
As an ex-corporate lawyer I used to be frustrated at how manual and archaic the work process is. I think it’s a sector that can be more hands-on for clients and ‘self-serve’, thereby enabling clients to understand the process more and avoid the legal jargon of lawyers! I think tech solutions such as SeedLegals are a fab starting point, particularly for early-stage founders.
5. How do you prevent burnout?
HN: Exercise is key for me and is crucial to maintain my mental and physical health. I am a creature of habit and try to get my eight hours of sleep a night. I also recommend 20-minute power naps in the afternoon rather than a coffee! Eat, sleep well and exercise.
On top of this have a good support network around you. It’s tough building a business and sometimes a lonely and daunting experience.
Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative tech startups, scaleups and unicorns – is published every Friday.