OnTheMarket plc is the UK’s majority agent-owned property portal provider. It is the parent company of Agents’ Mutual, which owns and operates OnTheMarket.com. The portal was launched in January 2015 and is now firmly established as one of the market-leaders in terms of website traffic and property advertiser customers.
The origins and early growth of the business
Agents’ Mutual was formed in January 2013 by several leading estate and lettings agents to create a new residential property portal as a challenger to the two existing major portal groups, Rightmove and ZPG.
Agents’ Mutual was the first major new entrant to the UK property portals market since 2008.
The Company’s senior founding management has significant industry experience and expertise.
The Agents’ Mutual proposition, for a portal owned by agents which would offer a premier search service to consumers whilst charging fair prices to agents, quickly found support among a very wide group of leading independent agents across the UK. These agent firms were prepared to fund the venture by way of loan note subscriptions and to commit to list with the portal once it went live.
The portal launched in January 2015 with the properties of 4,600 branches.
Float on AIM
The entire issued ordinary share capital of OnTheMarket plc was successfully admitted to AIM on 9 February 2018.
Through a Placing to investors £30 million of new equity capital was raised to support a new growth strategy for the business.
At Admission, over 2,000 agent firms owned approximately 70 per cent. of the issued share capital.
The Directors believe that on Admission the OnTheMarket.com portal had approximately 5,500 listed agent branches and carried around a third of the total UK residential property listings.
Progress since Admission
Since Admission the Group has pursued a transformational growth strategy. The strength of agent support and the appeal of the search experience helped the brand generate 30 million visits in January 2020. This is the result of growth in property stock and growth in awareness.
Compared with February 2018, in January 2020 OnTheMarket generated well in excess of 5 times the traffic to its portal and provided its property advertiser customers with over 9 times the number of leads.
As at January 2020, the company had listing agreements with agent firms with approximately 12,500 branches.
With over 3,000 estate and letting agent shareholders, operating over 6,000 offices, OnTheMarket provides a unique opportunity for agents to participate in the equity value of their own portal. Agent backing and support enable OnTheMarket to display “New & exclusive”* properties to serious property-seekers 24 hours or more before agents release these properties to other portals.
*See www.onthemarket.com/newandexclusive . Agents specify exclusivity.
Strategy for growth
OnTheMarket plc is a leading UK residential property portal provider.
Its objective is to create value for shareholders and property advertiser customers by delivering an agent-backed, technology enabled portal – offering a first-class service to agents and new homes developers at sustainably fair prices and becoming the go-to portal for serious property-seekers.
With over 3,000 estate and letting agent shareholders, operating over 6,000 offices, OnTheMarket provides a unique opportunity for agents to participate in the equity value of their own portal. Agent backing and support enable OnTheMarket to display thousands of “New & exclusive” properties every month to serious property-seekers 24 hours or more before agents release these properties to other portals.
To support the new growth strategy significant investment has been made, primarily in marketing – to drive traffic and to build brand awareness – and in team expansion to strengthen technological capability, delivery and support functions and to enhance the sales, sales support and customer relations functions.
The core strategy for the Group has been, and remains, to increase further the number of paying property advertiser shareholders and customers by delivering high volumes of valuable high quality leads and support service at a sustainably fair price and by deploying the targeted use of equity incentivisation alongside longer-term contracts.
The growth strategy is also based on continuously developing and delivering an expanding range of related value-adding products, services and solutions for its property advertiser shareholders and customers.
This in turn will enable OnTheMarket to deliver a continuously improving and differentiated search service for the most valuable end-user audience of motivated property-seekers. It also creates a strong platform for building new partnerships and generating additional advertising revenues.
Consumer property search service
Launched in January 2015, OnTheMarket.com is the simple way to search for property. The website and its apps aim to provide all potential buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants with an exceptional property search service.
The technology is state-of-the-art and our website was the first major portal seamlessly to adapt with state-of-the-art “responsive” technology to fit all screen sizes. OnTheMarket.com aims to satisfy property-seekers with a more enjoyable, cleaner, fresher, more focused approach to searching. Without unnecessary information and distracting clutter, the service concentrates on presenting, at their best, hundreds of thousands of homes for sale or for rent from thousands of estate and letting agents at all price points across the UK as well as Overseas and Commercial search services.
Many agents choose to launch their new UK residential properties exclusively with OnTheMarket.com first – 24 hours or more ahead of advertising them on any other portal – and these are prominently featured as “New & exclusive”*.
All the properties at OnTheMarket.com are on the market with estate or letting agents rather than being marketed directly by private sellers or landlords.
Professional tools and reporting in one place
For agents, the portal has additional functionality and accessibility through “OnTheMarket Expert” which gives access to tools enabling manual property uploading and editing of property details and office/firm details. Functionality includes property-level reporting of portal activity and lead generation which can be operated by multi-branch agents at both branch and agent level with central control access permissions. Agents may opt to upload manually or to instruct their data feed provider to engage with the portal to arrange automated uploads.
In March 2019, OnTheMarket announced that a beta version of its “Market Appraisal Guide” had been added to the suite of agent tools in another step towards matching the market leader’s core agent product set.
The Guide sits alongside the existing reporting tools and enables agents to access sold prices, comparable properties, local information and maps and create a report for vendors and landlords which carries their own branding in conjunction with OnTheMarket’s.
The Board comprises the following five Directors.
Non-Executive Chairman Biography
Chris Bell joined OnTheMarket as its Non-Executive Chairman in October 2017 as the Company prepared for its Placing and IPO on AIM.
Chris has considerable listed board experience across a range of sectors. He has, since 2015, been Senior Independent Director for The Rank Group Plc, where he also serves on the Audit Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Remuneration Committee and the Safer Gambling Committee.
As Non-Executive Chairman of three other AIM-listed companies, he took both XL Media plc and TechFinancials, Inc to market and has since May 2018 chaired Team17 Group plc.He resigned from TechFinancials, Inc in March 2020.
Chris joined Ladbroke Group plc in 1991, becoming Managing Director of its Racing Division in 1995. In 2000, he became Chief Executive of Ladbrokes Worldwide and joined the Board of the rebranded Hilton Group plc, becoming Chief Executive of Ladbrokes plc, following the sale of the Hilton International Hotel division, until 2010. He has also served as Non-Executive Director at Spirit Pub Company plc (from 2011 to 2015) and as Senior Independent Director at Quintain Estates and Development plc (from 2010 to 2015). Prior to joining Ladbrokes plc (formerly Hilton Group plc and Ladbrokes Group plc), Christopher held senior marketing positions at Allied Lyons plc.
Chris has also been a Non-Executive Director of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises since 2017.
Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer Biography
Clive joined the business in March 2017. Having qualified as a chartered accountant with PriceWaterhouse he spent 12 years working in investment banking with UBS before working six years at ThruVision, a security technology business, initially as CFO and then also as CEO. Clive then spent three years as CEO/CFO at Croft Associates, a business specialising in containers for the transport and disposal of radioactive materials.
Commercial Director Biography
Helen joined Agents’ Mutual in August 2013, having previously been Sales & Marketing Director and part of the founding management team at PrimeLocation.com. Helen began her career at Citibank and later joined Lombard Bank, where, as Marketing Director, she developed the Lombard Direct brand with national TV, press and direct marketing campaigns to achieve a market-leading position. Helen has been central to the planning, development and growth of OnTheMarket.com, with responsibility for sales, member relations and marketing.
Non-Executive Director Biography
Ian joined OnTheMarket as a Non-Executive Director in October 2017 as the Company prepared for its proposed placing and admission to AIM. Ian has extensive listed board experience both from his executive career as a senior audit partner with Ernst & Young and from his subsequent roles. He served as Independent Non-Executive Director at Southern Water from September 2018 to February 2019.
He was appointed to the board of Paysafe Group plc (previously Optimal Payments plc) in 2010 as a Non-Executive Director and served as Chairman of the Audit Committee until its sale in December 2017.
He also served, from 2009 to 2014, as a Non-Executive Director of Umeme Limited, the privatised national power distribution company of Uganda, which was listed on the Uganda and Nairobi Securities Exchanges in 2012. Ian established and chaired Umeme’s Audit Committee.
Prior to this, he was a senior audit partner with Ernst & Young London until 2009, specialising in FTSE-listed and multinational companies.
Ian is also an active mentor at Board Mentoring, supporting executive and non-executive directors stepping into new situations and roles.
Non-Executive Director Biography
Rupert joined the business as independent Non-Executive Director in February 2020. He also serves as chairman of the Remuneration Committee.
He has extensive Board experience at both listed and private companies. He is currently a Non-Executive Director at Clarion Housing Association (the UK’s largest housing association) and Pigeon Land Limited (a development land promotion company). Prior to this he was on the Savills plc main Board, followed by the Group Executive Board, for 21 years. His roles included CEO of Savills’ principal UK subsidiary for 12 years and Head of Global Residential.
He has also previously served as Non-Executive Chairman of Fastcrop plc, which operated the property web portal PrimeLocation, as Non-Executive Director of Adventis, a marketing company, during its flotation on AIM, and as Chairman of the Finance Committee for a university.
Rupert now sits on several external investment committees, including Christ Church College at the University of Oxford, is a Trustee of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and chairs the property companies for the private office of a European family.
Key senior management
The other members of the executive team are:
Chief Technology Officer Biography
Morgan joined the business in November 2013 as part of the founding management team. Previously, Morgan was IT Director at World Trade Group, IT Director at James Villas and IT Director at PrimeLocation.com. Morgan has been central to the planning, development and growth of OnTheMarket.com, with overall responsibility for portal development and operations as well as for the technical support team.
Brand Director Biography
John joined in February 2014 as part of the founding management team. He previously created and led a marketing and communications agency, Bespoke Communications, prior to which he had been a Board Director at four major London and Paris advertising agencies. John was closely involved with the brand development and marketing of PrimeLocation.com as well as of OnTheMarket.com, where he has been responsible for brand development and communications, including advertising, PR and portal design.