11th November 2020

Meet the founder: Sail Homes

Claire Corlett

We’re finding out more about the team behind Sail Homes- one of the startups to join our Accelerator Programme in cohort 11.  

Q: Who are the founders of your startup, and what are your backgrounds?

A: A team of 6 of us launched Sail Homes half way through this year (2020). I lead the team (Jamie); we’ve been working together on numerous projects now for around 5 years. We’ve had a lot of experiences together – we’ve been acquired twice, once by a company on the New York Stock Exchange, we’ve built some pivotal technology for London & Country, but most importantly we’ve had our flops too!

Q: Tell us the story behind your startup – why did you start your company?

A: Having spent a number years working on tech in the mortgage & conveyancing space, it dawned on us just how painful & slow the property process can be. When things go well, a property can sell fairly quickly. But if the case derails, even for the smallest of reasons, a sale can drag out by months. The average is still 7.5 months.

Whilst we’ve never tackled any of the bottlenecks in our previous projects, we were exposed to them. A lot of the bottlenecks seem fairly obvious to us, as outsiders. But in the industry you offer hear “that’s just the way it is”. Perhaps most importantly for starting Sail Homes, now seems like the right timing. COVID has changed the way we view homes & the SDLT holiday has applied more stress to the conveyancing industry than ever before. But the slow, bureaucratic process hasn’t changed & it’s not sustainable. Sales will become slower, fall throughs will increase, sellers & buyers will get even more frustrated.

What PurpleBricks did for competitive pricing, we want to do for speed & ease.

Q: What does success look like for you?

A: Become a top 5 agent in the UK market. And have a lot of fun on the way.

Q: What’s your biggest achievement so far, and why?

A: Selling a shared ownership, leasehold flat to a first time buyer who needed a mortgage, in 22 days. It can be done! Before we started that one, we were told the staircasing would take 90 days alone so there was no way we’d manage it.

Q: What are your plans for your startup over the next six months?

A: Our sole focus right now is to consistently deliver ’21 days to ready to exchange’. We appreciate we can’t always influence a chain hence the reason we’re not focussing on completion in that time; but we can get everything tied up & contracts ready to go. We’ve done it a number of times now but we want it to happen every time. Every time we don’t manage to get it done in 21 days, we learn, we fold the exceptions into our process & we go again. Every time we sell a home, we get better.

Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself!

A: The team have not taken the average route to become software engineers – James F went to uni for classical music, James K served in the military, Georgina did a degree in Anthropology & Italian.