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Grenville Turner joins Yopa as firm attracts £16m from Daily Mail and Savills

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  • 21/08/2019
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Ex-Countrywide CEO and chairman Grenville Turner has been appointed chairman at online estate agent Yopa.

The latest funding round drew investors from the venture capital arm of the Daily Mail Group and Grosvenor Ventures, the investment arm of Savills, alongside Yopa founder Alistair Barclay, according to an exclusive in Property Industry Eye.

LSL, parent company of Your Move and Reeds Rains, is an existing investor but has not contributed to the latest funding round.

Ben Poytner, CEO of Yopa, said: “This latest funding round from existing backers is a clear recognition of Yopa’s significant growth potential.”

He added: “We are pleased that Grenville Turner has agreed to join the board to support the business as it continues to mature.”

 

Turner’s C.V

 

Turner retired from Countrywide after two years as chairman in April 2016 after joining the property giant in 2006 and becoming group chief executive in 2007.

He oversaw the company’s stock market flotation in 2013 and at the time of the announcement, the firm was valued at around £750m with an initial share price of 350p.

Yopa’s published Companies House accounts show losses of £32m in the 12 months to the 2017 year-end. However Turner is confident the business will be profit-making suggesting “sophisticated” investors understand that “a lot of money is required for start-ups” as they build teams and brand awareness.

Prospects for estate agency

 

Later in the Property Industry Eye interview, Turner says the well documented struggles of other online agents – including Hatched which closed and Purple Bricks, which has been forced to withdraw from the US after two years following the driving expansion achieved mounting losses – shows market consolidation.

He said: “You are usually left with two or three players of scale, and my view is that in the hybrid agency sector, Yopa will be one of them.”

He does not think that the high street sector is doomed, but he does think it has changed: “High street offices are no longer places where people transact or even visit very much. They have become high street billboards.

“That is not a criticism – so long as the costs are appropriate. I do think that the high street will have a very long tail.

“However, I subscribe to the belief that people over-estimate the amount of change within two years, and under-estimate it over ten years.

“I think we are now in our third or fourth year of that change.”

He added that Yopa will also be launching its own mortgage services ‘shortly,’ but will continue to outsource its conveyancing.

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